A bit of quick novelty fun.

All Around TownWhen I came across this book I was pretty keen. For starters, the book is somewhat of a novelty; it is shaped like a miniature city – I think that’s kind of awesome. Inside the city, there are cars and roads and six buildings – each building has a dedicated little first-word type book, eg. hospital, school etc. and each book is filled with words related to that building, such as ‘student’, ‘patient’ etc.

Visually speaking, the layout of this book definitely breaks up the monotony of some of the other first-word books that I’ve come across. Unfortunately, I ended up more interested in this book than my son which is not a great thing because, not to boast here, I already knew all the words. I’m not sure I can actually explain why my son isn’t totally into it because it appears to have everything you’d want and/or need in order to attract a very young reader. I’m going to persist with this one because the words inside are actually quite useful, and not often found in a lot of the other ‘baby’s first word’ books.

I am recommending this book, but I’d caution that you test it on your little one before you buy it. I’m thinking of bringing it to playgroup this week and seeing if the other little hands find it more appealing. That being said, I think it’s worth a try. I’d recommend it for children ages 1-3 (though 3 is pushing it).

All Around Town, illustrated by Veronica Klimova, can be found at: http://www.paperchainbookstore.com.au/search.cfm?UR=BI234258&search_stage=details&records_to_display=50&this_book_number=28

My son loves this book.

Dino ShapesDino Shapes, written and illustrated by Suse MacDonald, is really fun. It’s also educational, but in a tricky haha you’re learning and you didn’t even know it sort of way.

The concept is complicated but presented in a seamlessly simple way. Essentially, through a mix of colours and shapes, MacDonald builds a dinosaur page by page. Each page is dedicated to a new part of the dinosaur’s face, and that part is made out of a different shape. My son (17 months) has asked for the ‘dino’ book three days in a row now. Tonight, he startled me by correctly identifying the oval and diamond. He has a firm grasp on other shapes but these are, arguably, more complicated for a little person to grasp. He also identified the ‘crescent’, but he hasn’t quite articulated it properly yet. I’m certain Dino Shapes is a large part of this early learning.

Amazon suggests this book is appropriate for 3-7 years but I think that doesn’t give children on the earliest side of life enough credit. Dino Shapes is exciting and cleverly immersive, especially considering the tiny people for which the book is written. If you don’t have little ‘uns, this one is actually a pretty great gift too. You can purchase the book at: http://www.amazon.com/Dino-Shapes-Suse-MacDonald/dp/1481400932