Peapod’s Picks is a weekly round up of some of the books that Peapod* has read (often, but not always, for his bedtime stories) each week plus a review of at least one of them.
It’s a brief(ish) Peapod’s Picks this week as we’re away and I’m not organised enough to have pre-written anything!
But these board books we were kindly sent have been waiting patiently fir review fir a while and make a perfect quick-picks post!
We received these free from the publishers as part of a lovely bundle of books to share with Peapod as he gets bigger (they’ve all either been reviewed or will be in upcoming weeks!) All views are my own.
Funny Face by Nicola Smee
The toddler in the book goes through a range of emotions as he meets a bear who takes his ball in the park one day.
On one side of each double page spread is a picture of the whole scene – boy, ball and bear at various stages of their encounter – with a simple sentence explaining what is happening. On the other is a close up of the toddler’s face with just ‘happy face’ or ‘sad face’ etc.
We liked the large, simple features on the face illustrations – they clearly show how our faces change with different feelings and really drew Peapod’s attention. The story pages are great for adding some context, which is often missing from books on feelings aimed at the very young, and they give a good starting point for conversations about feelings with older children too.
Toddlers will also enjoy copying the different expressions, either straight from the page or by mimicking you. The mirror on the last page is a lovely idea – they can see themselves trying different expressions, seeing how their faces change and comparing to the faces in the pictures. The page next to the mirror has all the faces shown which is a great idea. There’s even space to stick a photo of your own which is a lovely extra touch.
My only sticking points are the inclusion of a ‘naughty face’, which didn’t sit well with me, and the age recommendation on the back for 10mths+ – undoubtedly older babies and toddlers will understand more and get more from it, but even tiny babies like looking at faces and mirrors so this could be shared much younger.
But overall this is a lovely introduction to our feelings and how we express them for little ones.
Olobob Top – Let’s Visit Big Fish’s Pond by Leigh Hodgkinson and Steve Smith
I try to stick to positive reviews only on here and so I didn’t know whether to include this one in this board book round up or not. I decided to put it in as there were things we liked, but honestly, we didn’t love it.
We did love the illustrations though. They are bright and beautiful, collage-like, poppy and fun. I loved the style and the colour obviously appealed to Peapod as he enjoyed looking at it.
We aren’t familiar with the TV programme, but found this a bit odd to read. I’m all in favour of odd books on the whole, but this didn’t work for me. I also found the way it approached comparing size to be a bit unhelpful/inaccurate at times – one of the characters declaring they’re bigger because they’re older, for example.
This is a book that’s sure to be popular with fans of the series dbd has plenty of visual appeal. It’s one we’ll continue to enjoy looking through, but we’ll talk and name and point and make up our own stories when we do.
Let’s Explore With Ted by Sophy Henn
This was undoubtedly our favourite of the three. Ted is off on an adventure around the world,each page sees him exploring somewhere new, from tall mountains to tropical jungles to slippery icebergs.
I love that on the left of each spread is Ted’s home, then on the right the place he’s decided to explore, where there’s always a little nod to his starting point – a trailing plant and sleeping plant in the kitchen before Ted heads off to find a leopard in the jungle for example. It’s a lovely celebration of make believe and imaginative play.
We also loved the ‘whole page’ flaps – sturdy and big enough for Peapod to handle and turn himself, they fold up or down to extend the page cleverly.
The text is bold and well-pitched, there’s enough of a story to make the book flow, but with repetition and description that invites older babies and Toddlers to join in – with noises actions or with the repeated “let’s explore”.
Likewise, the illustrations are really appealing and engaging. There’s enough to make an interesting scene but not too much going on. The home pages are familiar and the explorations exciting – both offering great talking points.
We really enjoyed this and I’m looking forward to sharing it with Peapod when he’s a bit older and can chat about and interact with it even more. We’ll definitely be trying some of the other Ted books by Sophy Henn.
Have you read any of these with your little ones?