My one year old daughter has a complete obsession with cats. We have a pair of Siamese at home to whom she has become a shadow. She will spot cats in the street when out on walks and giggle hysterically and she never fails to spot a cat in a book or magazine.
At Christmas last year I found what I believed to be the ideal book for her. In addition to her love of all things cats she also loves books with sound chips to press and parts to feel. This book, Touch and Feel Noisy Kitten by Joanna Bicknell, had all of those attributes.
I purchased this from Amazon where it is available at £4.99 with free delivery. This is the actual recommended retail price printed on the back of the book so there are currently no savings there. The recommended age for this book is one year plus.
Touch and Feel Noisy Kitten is a rather sweet little board book about kittens. It has just four pages, excluding the front and back covers. Amazon however state that it has 12 pages, this is inaccurate.
There is a little tabby kitten to the front page with a hole at the tummy where the fur is visible from the following page. At the bottom right hand corner there is a sound chip which emits a meowing sound.
The illustrations throughout are actual photographs of kittens. The background is abstract being of solid colour with a pattern in a lighter shade.
The book of course has touch and feel elements which encourage sensory awareness in young children. Those elements include a furry tummy, plastic whiskers, felt noses, a bumpy fabric on a toy mouse and wicker on the kittens' basket.
The text is very simple. Each page has at least one 'Meow' in different positions. The rest of the text simply encourages us to touch the touch and feel areas, for instance 'Touch my scratchy whiskers!' and 'Pat my back and tickle my tummy!"
The book arrived promptly, however I was soon very disappointed. The sound chip to the front was squashed in and therefore not working at all. In addition to this the book was very dirty and the spine was scuffed. I quickly contacted Amazon in order to return my item, which subsequently led to further issues as they would only e-mail a return label to me and my printer was not working. I asked a family member to print this out for me and eventually managed to despatch it before awaiting a replacement.
My replacement came and again it wasn't perfect. The sound chip had a protective cover on it this time, but after a few tries of the button it very quickly began to stick. After giving this to my daughter at Christmas the sound chip soon gained another fault, it now only has part of the 'meow' sound before cutting off. I presume that this is simply due to very poor quality. Also, the book was rather dirty again, something I can only give the distributors blame for.
In addition to those problems, this book has now scuffed beyond reasonable expectations. The front cover is creased, the top layer is peeling away from the cardboard and the spine is so badly scuffed and flaking that the title is barely visible. My children have much older books than this which are still in perfect condition. They adore their books and although they get plenty of use, they are also very well cared for.
My daughter's opinion on this book however was rather different to mine. She completely adores it. She giggles at the kittens, feels all of the sensory areas without guidance and presses her nose up against the kittens to get a very close look! The broken sound chip has caused her a little frustration but she presses it nonetheless.
In summary Touch and Feel Noisy Kitten by Joanna Bicknell is a book with a lovely concept. However it is maybe a little too simple and is certainly very poorly made. I now wish that I'd have gone with my instincts and bought a That's Not My Kitten book, a series of books which has so far never let me down!