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Spot's Birthday Party by Eric Hill is one of a series of Spot the Dog books which has been enjoyed by children for a few generations now. This book is available in both a board book and a paperback book, as it appeals to both toddlers and early readers. Both versions feature interactive lift-the-flap parts on most pages. If you want to purchase a copy for yourself, this is widely available in both formats for around £5. A little expensive for one book, but then it does have the lift-the-flap panels in fairness.
This book tells a simple story of Spot the Dog having a birthday party. He plays a game of hide and seek with his friends, and we get to lift flaps on most pages to see if there's a friending hiding in, under or behind various items in Spot's house.
This is a fun book which even very young children can participate in because of the flaps. It's exciting for tots to try to find where the characters are hiding, and it's a good way to introduce a bit of spacial understanding as well! The flaps aren't especially sturdy in any of the Spot books, but they're certainly not the flimsiest I've come across in this kind of book either. Just be aware that you may need to buy a reel of sellotape to go with this...
Older kids of three to five years will find the large print text ideal for when they are just starting to read for themselves, especially if they learn quite young and aren't able to understand the early reader books aimed at those aged five years and older.
I also like that the illustrations are printed on white backgrounds throughout, as this makes it easy for kids to focus on the important bits in the story and not get side-tracked. It means that very young kids stand a good chance of actually being able to spot the various hidden friends and not get distracted by lots of detail!
A nice book for young kids, definitely one which every family should buy or borrow at some point. The book is extremely simple yet very effective, and holds obvious appeal for a range of young children.
Spots birthday Party
A very simple book featuring the ever popular Spot the dog. This book is suitable for very young children, in particular children who are having a birthday, as it deals with an event which children from a young age, can relate to.
~~Story and Illustrations~~
Children familiar with Spot will instantly recognise the cute cream and brown spotted puppy from other stories.
Given the title of the book, it comes as no surprise to find out that its Spots Birthday, although we are not told how old he is, and children are sure to ask. Its obviously his party, and he kicks off the proceedings by playing hide and seek .there he sits with paws over his eyes, counting one two three, until declaring, Ready or not- here comes Spot! Fantastic, off he goes.
He tries behind the curtain, under the rug, in the cupboard, behind the shower curtain, under a coat, behind a leaf, behind a door, under a table and behind a cushion. At last, he finds all of his friends, who shout Happy Birthday, Spot!
As he wanders round the house looking for his friends, we notice a definite pattern to the text and story line. First of all, Spot finds a friend, either under or behind an object, and when children lift the flap, a friend is revealed; this friend always says something when they are found, as shown in the speech bubbles. To make things easier for young children to play along with, there is always some part of the animal who is hiding which is revealed for example, a small piece of the snake is drooping under the cupboard door. This encourages young children to make predictions about the text, and guess which animal is hiding.
The text itself is in really big font in the kind of style young children will be able to read and at least recognise the letters. There are exclamation and question marks as well as plenty of full stops, especially when the sentences are very short, sometimes only two words.
Whilst the text and a picture of Spot is on the left page of the double page spread, the main picture and lift up flap is on the right hand side. All of the pictures are in mainly primary colours, and are very simply drawn and brightly coloured. The background is always white, so children wont get confused with two much detail and can focus on the storyline.
~~Price and Availability~~
Because the books have been around for quite some time, I often pick these up at church and school fairs and at charity shops. Unless its for a present, I would try to find one at a much reduced and second hand price. No point paying full price when you could almost certainly get it very cheaply.
Available from bookshops, supermarkets and online.
~~Other bits of information~~
Publisher: Puffin Books
~~Other books by the same author ~~
Eric Hill is a prolific writer of Spot books, and if your child enjoys this character, you can be sure to find other stories they will enjoy.
These are some of the stories I have read to young children, but the list is by no means exhaustive:
Spot Visits his Grandparents
Spot bakes a Cake
Spot Goes on Holiday
Spot Goes to the Circus
Spots First Easter
Spots First Christmas
Spots first walk
One of the factors which makes these ideal books for young children, is that a lot of the stories focus on Spots first time doing something. This is easy for children to relate to because they will be doing many things for the very first time.
~~What I think ~~
The book is simple to read and the format means that it is suitable for very young children- as soon as they show an interest in looking at pictures. Since there are flaps to lift up, children will enjoy guessing who is behind each flap, based on which body part of the animal they can see. I always tape the flaps more securely before I give it to children to look at, just to ensure that very young children cant be disappointed if the flaps come off with over enthusiasm.
The subject of birthday parties is one children can relate to, and they will enjoy talking about their own parties and parties they have been to.
The characters are appealing, and I have yet to find a youngster who doesnt warm to Spot. All of the illustrations are bold and bright, and the animals are obviously the animal they are depicting- no guesswork here snake really does look like a snake.
For an easy to read, appealing book to introduce children to the fun we can have with books, I would recommend this.
Thanks for reading.
It's Spot's birthday party and he decides to play hide-and-seek with his friends. He looks in many different places to find all his friends, including behind the curtain and under the plant.