A stunning counting book full of gorgeous baby animals, with amazing flaps to lift and holes to peep through.
From a leopard with her cubs, to a frog and its tadpoles, young readers will delight in counting each creature's babies and seeing where they live. With rhyming text and a surprise search-and-find game, this is a read-aloud delight and an absolute must for the family bookshelf.
The vibrant illustrations are by Sharon King-Chai.
"This is my very favourite book!" declared Mr Four as it fell open at a random page and he saw all the bright colours and intricate designs. It could have been made just with him in mind; he is learning to count, and although he cannot yet read, the pictures are so clear that he could work them out anyway. We decided to start at the beginning, but it was stop - go all the way as we kept having to examine the different page layouts. The little "windows" all had to be looked through, the serrated edges felt and moved, the fold-out sections unpacked and put back in place again.
Then there was the text, rhyming so it was easy to repeat and remember, and the challenge at the end of each page to work out which creature had even more babies. Each creature on every page was carefully counted and double checked before we could move on to the next. I don't think I have ever taken so long to read a book! The surprise search-and-find game, which we did not see until we had finished reading almost to the end, was a bonus which took us another 20 minutes to complete.
Once we had put the book down, I asked him to show me his favourite picture so I could photograph him looking at it. No contest there; he is into spiders in a big way and is always finding new ones whenever he is playing in the garden. He pointed to it, and showed me all its legs, and then suggested we needed to read the book again! So we did.
It was not only a pleasure to watch the enjoyment he was getting from the text and graphics, and the unexpected cut-outs on some of the pages, but also a new experience for me. I enjoyed the tactile effect of the page "windows" and fold-outs, and the way that the story invited the young reader to explore and experience new layouts with each creature. The counting drill was just one part of the whole learning activity, one which made acquiring new knowledge an absolute pleasure. Even his older sisters (six-year-old twins, and a five-year-old) were interested and kept sneaking a look - and occasionally answering a question before he could! I had thought it might be a bit young for them since they are now big schoolgirls, but again I was happy to be proved wrong.
My only reservation would be that the book does not have a hard binding. It is such a beautiful product that it would be a shame if it did not last with little hands constantly opening flaps and competing to find a hidden creature first. However, books are made to be read and enjoyed, not sit pristine on a shelf in case they get damaged, so I guess that is not the most important thing. In every other way it is a product that has already given a lot of pleasure, not only to Mr Four, but also to his older sisters!
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