A Board Book Every Week: No. 22
A brilliant lift-the-flaps book written and illustrated by Nicola Smee, combining hide-and-seek, bedtime anxieties, and some delightfully helpful pets.
The little girl at the heart of this story is all ready for bed but can’t go until her teddy is found – but where is it? Cupboards, drawers and tablecloths are lifted to reveal a growing number of animals, but no Ted. I particularly like the flap which shows Grandpa to be sitting on a bag full of – could they be? – Werthers Originals.
It turns out that Ted has been washed and is outside on the washing line – another anxiety about favourite huggies and suckies and soft toys. I recall one of my children kneeling before the washing machine, paws pressed to the glass door, while his cuddly quilt swished round inside. It had been cut in two and I was hoping he wouldn’t notice when the spare half was in for a much-needed wash.
Happy endings here with everyone snuggled up to sleep, and as the blurb says ‘loads for children to investigate, spot and count’. The little mice asleep in a pair of slippers are a lovely touch.
Really simple text, with a rhyme on the short 4-line pages, makes for a manageable and familiar storyline, and the possibility of talking about emotions with a toddler. One flap shows our heroine with a tear on her cheek.
The colours are cheery and bright without being lurid. It reminds me of Where’s Spot?, but is a bit more sophisticated.
Bound to be a favourite!
The latest addition to my library of stimulating and diverse baby books…
A Board Book Every Week: No. 11
This is the first proper lift-the-flap book in my selection and I love it because it’s visually very clever. Flaps in board books usually lift on to a ‘what’s inside?’ reveal – or a ‘who’s hiding behind the door/tree/etc?’ In this little book when the flap is lifted colourful flowers morph into animals, very convincingly and inventively. Each one is a surprise. As the back cover says, ‘Now you see it, now you don’t’.
Okay, so I spotted it in the shop at Tate Modern and it is rather arty – but it works. Arty, yet not too arty. The images are clear enough for most children, with lots of glossy snow-white space around them. The colours are vivid with high-contrast black outlines, so it should appeal to young babies too. The flaps are sturdy and easy to manipulate.
I’m not expecting a toddler or baby to tell the difference between a tulip and a daisy (though we’ve had botanical accuracy in I Am A Bunny) so we could just call them all flowers. But a snake, a sheep, a bear, a lion and a butterfly are pretty exciting finds. A couple of the animals named in the book as a ‘kitten’ and a ‘cockerel’ could easily be called ‘cat’ and ‘chicken’ if those are more familiar words to your child. The thing is not to be afraid of using a book in the best way for you, certainly at this stage.
And the final double-page spread – the icing on the cake – shows all the animals and flowers featured in a mad flowery meadow, looking remarkably amicable together. A great chance to practice the words all over again.