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This is another offering from Begin Smart/ Sterling Publishing, and it has been a lot more use and fun than the 'Hello Baby' book I reviewed a few weeks back. Here the construction of the book is thoughtful and makes it fit for purpose. Rather than telling a story, this book is a series of five animal faces, each making their characteristic call, and shouting the less characteristic, "Who Am I?".
What makes the book a little different is that there are cut-outs where the animals' eyes should be. Each face is shown over a double page spread and you can hold it up to your face and peer through. To make this easier there are cut-outs on either side of each face that act as handles. You can see this in the photo above, although here the book is closed. A thick, foam layer is sandwiched between two of the pages making them chunky and easy for baby to turn, and to grip when they hold the book up to their face. The foam is also light so the book does not become too heavy, a feature that is also useful when it is dropped on your foot.
The book is aimed at babies aged 18 months to 2 years and this is probably about right for babies hiding themselves behind the masks. But of course they can look through the book and watch you hiding and making the various sounds from a younger age. Personally I find some of the faces a bit disturbing, the sheep in particular. The effect of the cut out eyes gives me the heebie jeebies, however I have not detected any such emotion from Baby CrazyEgg. She is happy with all the faces especially the, (OMG, just realised) Big Orange Cat.
Begin Smart like to refer to this book of masks as "advancing the game of peek- a-boo", which is probably true but alongside its slogan "Books for Smart Babies" I find it a bit pretentious.
Baby CrazyEgg enjoys hiding behind and peeking through this book, but has no idea that she is supposed to be pretending to be an animal. It is possible she thinks she is being the animal she can see rather than me, but I may be being over optimistic. I should probably point out that we have had similar levels of fun with an old cereal packet with two holes cut out, BUT the book will obviously grow with Baby for some time yet, whereas the cereal packet got recycled once the chewing started.
At £3.99 this is not a bad buy, not an essential, but certainly some fun.