Picture Book and Play – Builders

Picture Book And Play is a weekly post in which we look at a picture book (or books) Peapod’s been enjoying recently and some of the play we’ve had based on it.

Last week, I wrote about a lot of our construction themed books and play, and this week follows on from that as we look at a few more of our building themed stories and activities.

Peapod has got two versions of The Three Little Pigs that he really enjoys – the Campbell First Stories board book and one by Nick Sharratt and Stephen Tucker. We love both and have others in both these series that I’d really recommend!

Both have bouncy, rhythmic, rhyming text and interactive parts (the first with moving parts and the second has flaps), with plenty to look at and tall about. And of course both end with wolf burning his bottom in the cooking pot which he finds hilarious! (though his favourite part in the Sharratt/Tucker version is the spider in wolf’s empty cupboard!)

I adlib a bit to flesh out the Campbell version and to add in the traditional phrases from the story and its lovely hearing Peapod joining in with these now too as we read and act it out using some of his animals and construction blocks.

Obviously I helped build the houses, but that was sort of the point as Peapod has a lot of blocks but doesn’t often choose to play with them. So I hoped to get him a bit more into them by using them for this.

It didn’t really get him building, but he liked telling the story and definitely enjoyed being the wolf and blowing the houses down!!

Likewise, this classic from Allan Ahlberg and Colin McNaughton‘s Happy Families range, in which Mr and Mrs Brick worry that their new baby is not a builder like them and all the Bricks that have gone before.

He loves seeing Baby Brick knock all the houses down, immediately chose to play it after we’d finished reading it for the first time and going back to it often this week.

Again the joy was very much in us building and him (sorry, Baby Brick!) knocking it all down, but that was great fun and it’s helped us get playing with the bricks which meant that once they were out and a over the floor he started coming up with his own game.

I had to walk the people through them and they get stuck as their paths are blocked. I then extended this to us building towers in all the directions they were trying to go and he was soon throwing up towers like there’s no tomorrow!

He’s slowly starting to venture into walls, buildings and steps too, and while it’s still mostly us building any kind of recognisable structure, he is starting to have a go.

Peapod’s “house – there’s the door!”

We’ve also been building and playing with bridges, thanks to one of Peapod’s current favourite snack time reads – Iggy Peck Architect by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts

We’ve read it repeatedly and thoroughly enjoy it with its zippy rhyming text and wonderfully detailed, funny and stylish illustrations.

Peapod’s favourite bit is, of course the tower of dirty nappies which he thinks is hilarious! But he’s also fascinated by the bridge Iggy and his classmates build at the end of the book too and really pores over it!

We’ve also done some building block printing this week.

This was one of those ‘bite-your-tongue-and-step-back’ activities, as he soon decided block printing was all well and good, but actually painting his builders and printing with them and getting handfuls of paint to make mud/cover them in it was much more fun!

He had a ball, was so involved and then spent a good deal of time in the water washing them too so win-win!

Do your little ones like to build?

Which picture books have you read this week?

Picture Book and Play – Construction Site

Picture Book And Play is a weekly post in which we look at a picture book (or books) Peapod’s been enjoying recently and some of the play we’ve had based on it.

Peapod has been mad on playing with his builders recently so this is the first of a building site double over the next two weeks!

Yes, that is a Tool Station catalogue – nothing like a bit of ‘real life’ print! In fact, it was that rather than one of his picture books that triggered this interest in his building toys again, as he went and got his toolbox after seeing the hammers and drills in here!

He’s also enjoyed the Let’s Pretend Builders Toolkit which has pop out tools that he likes to get out and pretend to use.

I pushed plastic golf tees a little way into a box then left them out with his hammer.

This is one of those activities though that requires a bit of realism on our part; Peapod enjoyed it but it’s very much a short-bursts, short-lived one – he returned to it a few times a day over a couple of days for a few mins at a time. So don’t go expecting it to fill an hour, but since it takes no time at all to set up it’s all good, and great for hand-eye coordination and motor skills too!

A more long-lived activity, and probably Peapod’s favourite of those we’ve done, was his construction site tray. Peapod loved playing with “Orange Bear” when we had the snow in his tray, so I ordered a couple more of the diggers in that range and set them up in his tray.

We had this out for a good week and it was probably the most played with thing in that time. He spent hours here (and although the tray’s changed now, he is still playing with the diggers).

We used lots of modelling and his books to help extend his play and language in here. His favourite book to use was definitely Busy Building Site – he’s looked at this over and over again! He loves the flaps and the central character of ‘Builder Barney’ who takes us through a build from start to finish.

It’s a great book with lots of flaps to lift that help show the processes on the site; simple rhyming text to help talk us through it; ‘sound effects’ written on to engage and join in with; and, most importantly, lots of age-appropriate technical vocabulary labelling items on the pages.

Peapod has loved finding out what everything is called, matching it to his own toys where he has them, finding out what the builders are doing abd acting it out in his tray – he particularly likes digging foundations!

We adapted it as we went, adding in this ‘rubbish chute’ and ‘skip’ for example, and while he loved the pebbles and corks, he didn’t touch the bobbins despite us modelling them so I took those out. And Peapod chose to bring his other builders and people into it.

We’re also reading ‘Dig, Dig, Digging’ by Margaret Mayo and Alex Ayliffe most days and he likes to match the vehicles in the book to his own toy ones.

While it doesn’t explicitly say its poetry, I don’t know what else you’d call each short rhythmic passage – one for each vehicle, filled with onomatopoeia, repetition and action. A perfect, slightly surreptitious introduction to poetry!

As well as matching his vehicles to the images in the book, he also likes to bring them over to match to his jigsaws!

And of course, it wouldn’t be the same if I didn’t include one of the duds – this week play dough!

I made playdough and put it out with his tools, with the idea of making prints – hammering, drilling, screwing into it etc. – and while he did do this for all of two minutes, the dough quickly became a cake and the screws candles! He enjoyed it and that’s the main thing 😂

Join us next week for more building-themed stories and play!

What have you been reading and playing this week?

Peapod’s Reading Round Up 11/6/20

We have continued reading a lot of last week’s choices (though thankfully Pigeon Poop seems to have been forgotten about for now!) and there’s been some old favourites creeping back in too, but this week’s absolute favourite bedtime read has been

On the Way Home by Jill Murphy

Having bumped his knee on our walk, he was utterly taken with this tale of Claire and her bad knee. He now asks for it every night (“knee!”) and often during the day too. He especially likes the witch (if we read it during the day he dashes off to get his cardboard tube Broom!), the giant (off he goes to get Jack and the Beanstalk) and ghost (“wooooooo!”).

It’s one of my favourites from when I was little too (we video called my mum with it the other day!) so I’m loving gushing it on regular repeat! You can read my original review of it here.

The other books that have really grabbed his attention this week are these from Campbell’s ‘First Stories’ range.

We ordered Jack and the Beanstalk after reading Jasper’s Beanstalk a few weeks ago, so decided to get a couple of the other traditional tales at the same time. He loves his Bear so we got Goldilocks and I thought The Three Little Pigs would be good for his current building themed shelf downstairs.

He is LOVING them.

As with Campbell’s ‘Busy’ range of books (which we also love – you can read our review of Busy Railway here) the books have bright and busy illustrations, with plenty to talk about and find on each page and a moving part on each spread.

Little fingers can pull, turn and slide various parts to make the pictures move. He absolutely loves this! The giggles of sheer delight as we find Jack in a cupboard or the wolf in a cooking pot are joyous and everytimr we see Goldilocks make a run for it, he leaps up to leg it round the room too!

Each story is told in short, rhyming sentences over double page spreads. The way the books have managed to tell the tales so succinctly is great and there’s enough scope in the pictures to allow for a longer telling too.

We have been doing just that; sometimes we just read it as is, but often we tell a fuller version page by page, based on the illustrations then summed up with each page’s text.

On the back of the books are pictures of the others in the series. Peapod has picked out Cinderella who he recognises from Each Peach Pear Plum so that’s in our next order, and I quite fancy Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel or The Little Mermaid after that…

(I’d also love a Three Billy Goats Gruff in this range if anyone at Campbell is reading..!)

Have you read any of these?

Which classic, traditional or fairy tale would you like to see in this format?

Peapod’s Picks – All Aboard!

We switched Peapod’s downstairs shelf to trains recently and I realised we were severely lacking in books on/featuring trains.

Following a Twitter plea I got lots of fab recommendations, and these are the books we chose (with a couple more suggestions banked for when he’s a little bigger, notably William Bee and Look Inside Trains…)

Unfortunately, Choo, Choo, Clickety-Clack and The Runaway Train didn’t get much of a look in. But, I really like them and I know they’ll be ones we return to (especially The Runaway Train which is perfect for small world play!) so I’ll come back to review those at a later date!

Poppy and Sam’s Noisy Train, written by Sam Taplin, illustrated by Stephen Cartwright, designed by Francesca Allen and Marc Maynard and with sounds by Andrew Marks

We already had this one, which has been a trusted favourite for months.

It’s Farmer Dray and Dolly the horse to the rescue when Poppy and Sam take a trip on a steam train with their class and it breaks down.

Full of old-fashioned, rural charm but with a bright, light feel. Peapod loves playing and joining in with the sound effects, naming people/things in the pictures and – of course – finding the iconic Usborne duck on every page!

Busy Railway from Campbell, based on the original Busy Railway by Rebecca Finn and illustrated by Jo Byatt

This is one I’d already ordered as I’m a huge fan of this range (and their similar ‘First Stories’ range which I’ll be posting about soon).

We see steam engines, a modern train departing the station and a fabulously broad and busy spread with both passing through.

With simple, rhyming text and parts to push, pull, turn and slide on each page, this is a great little train book packed with things to spot and discuss.

There’s questions on each page asking children to find things and it’s easy to do this yourselves too – we spend ages pointing things out with Peapod and getting him looking for things too. And, like the Usborne duck, there’s a bee to spot on each page too!

These have, without doubt, been Peapod’s favourites (with The Train Ride taking the lead early on but Oi! Get Off Our Train making a late comeback!)

The Train Ride by June Crebbin, illustrated by Stephen Lambert

This is a lovely book which I’ve seen in passing before but never really paid any mind to. My mistake.

A child’s train ride (and yes, one of the things I love about this is that nowhere in the book does it say if the child is a girl or a boy. I think they are *meant* to be a girl, but in our house they’re either a ‘they/them’ or a boy)

Anyway I digress – their train ride takes us past farmland, through tunnels to a seaside town where grandma is waiting, with the story ending in a big hug of welcome.

Peapod LOVES this book. He opens his arms wide for a hug both to ask for it and to join in with the hug at the end.

He enjoys pointing out, naming and making the noises for all the things they see on the journey, especially the farm animals, tractor and ticket collector.

It’s also lovely to see him joining in with the rhythmic, repetitive text (written wonderfully in that sort of train like clickety-clack, clickety-clack pattern) and asked for it today with a “See! See!”

A firm favourite that’s made the transition from our shelf as it changed over to his bedtime story basket.

Oi! Get Off Our Train by John Burningham

A little boy is told to leave his toy train set and get to bed. From there, we see him and his pyjama case dog embark on a fantastically illustrated night time train adventure, with various endangered animals joining the trip along the way.

Peapod loves the animals and trying to join in with the repeated phrases. We name colours and flowers and talk about weather, playing and places.

And while it is enjoyable just as it is, with its repetitive text, animals and of course trains, there’s also huge potential for more for a huge range of ages from small world play to talk or work on endangered species and geography.

And that’s not to mention the artwork – wonderfully rich and varied, its like a gallery in a book. There is much to look at and it’d be perfect for children to explore the many techniques and media used too.

Do you have any railway favourites you’d add to our collection?

Have you read any of these?

Lions and Tigers and…Hippos?! Oh My!

We were lucky enough to request and receive copies of two of these from Usborne (Hippo we bought ourselves!) in exchange for an honest review. All views and opinions are our own.

This week, we have three gorgeous Usborne board books to share with you. All are bright, engaging and lots of fun and have definitely been given a thumbs up from Peapod! First up…

Play Hide & Seek with Tiger by Sam Taplin, illustrated by Gareth Lucas

This is a lovely addition to the lift-the-flap range, with large almost whole page style flaps that are sturdy and easy for little fingers to lift.

There are little cut outs in the flaps, which add an extra level of detail, interest and challenge. Peapod is enjoying putting his fingers through and using to lift the flaps too. We also really liked the way the final page folded out via multiple flaps,each revealing another animal.

The illustrations are bright and cheerful, with just the right balance between being bold and simple enough for little readers, but detailed enough to talk about and point things out.

The text is all done through speech bubbles, which felt different and begs for the use of voices.

We’re really enjoying this. Peapod loves us naming the animals and making the noises for them, especially roaring like tiger (although, as a very minor point, I think all of us felt tiger should roar on the final page instead of saying boo!), as well as the fun “where can they be?!” hamming-it-up way we can read it to build up to the grand reveals!

And speaking of being overly dramatic and creating a build up when sharing a book, these next two are just as good.

Don’t Tickle the Hippo/Don’t Tickle the Lion by Sam Taplin, illustrated by Ana Martin Larranga

I snapped up Don’t Tickle the Hippo as a Christmas present for Peapod when it came into work as I was certain he’d love it.

He was (still is) going through a spell of loving noisy books and animals are always a win with him, and I was really excited to see the touchy freely elements there too as he loved this aspect of the That’s Not My… books but since growing out of them a bit, we’ve not really found anything touchy freely that’s captured him in the same way.

I promise the hippo top is a coincidence!

Well, he LOVED this. And still does, nearly two months on. So when I was offered a review copy of Don’t Tickle the Lion from Usborne I jumped at it knowing he’d love it even more as this time there was also a lion (ROOOOAAAR!)

Both books follow the same structure. Each features four different wild animals with the repeated phrase “Don’t tickle the…! You might make it…” Each animal has a touchy-feely textured part and when you feel that it makes the animal noise.

(I should also note here that we have one other book that works in this way, Noisy Farm, which we loved the look of but never use because it’s really hard to press on exactly the right spot and hard enough for the sound – these books are infinitely better! Peapod uses them absolutely independently with no trouble at all.)

There is loads to love about these books. First, they feel really high quality – from the textures to the cut outs and shaped pages to the font and text design and layout to the stunning, vibrant and detailed illustrations which have an almost batik feel in parts and have plenty of extra flora and fauna to point out, name, count and talk about.

Secondly, they are just joyous. Not to mention hilarious. By the final double spread, all the animals are in ticklish uproar and there’s a riot of animal noises and music. We continue to giggle our way through these, and theur appeal shows no sign of abating with Peapod!

Peapod’s Picks – Holiday Reads 2

Peapod’s Picks is a weekly round up of some of the books that Peapod* has read each week.

*His social media alter ego, not his real name!

Last week I posted the first of our Holiday Reads posts looking at the picture books we read on holiday. This week, it’s a round up of the board books we took.

That’s Not My Plane by Fiona Watt and Rachel Wells


Of course we had to take this one for the plane! This series remains a firm favourite, and with its shiny windows, sparkly propeller and lumpy, metallic engines this one was lots of flashy fun!

Busy Holiday by Sebastien Braun

With scenes showing a family packing and getting in the car, at the beach, on a campsite and at a funfair, there’s something for all types of holiday here and plenty to spot on each page. There’s so much going on in the illustrations, older children will have fun spotting the yellow bird on each page as well as being able to notice some of the smaller, background activities too – things that have been dropped or forgotten or animals peeking out from unexpected places, for example.

There is of course the ‘push, pull, slide’ moving parts too, perfect for toddlers – more interesting and trickier than simple lift the flap or touch and feel, but durable and sturdy enough to withstand young reader’s handling! It’s a bit hard for Peapod still, but he’s starting to give it a go and likes it when we make them move.

This will be coming on many more holidays in the future!

Baby’s Very First Slide and See – Under the Sea by Stella Baggott and Josephine Thompson


We love the bright colours, bold illustrstions and bumpy textures in this one. Peapod loves hearing us make the noises on each page – “wheeeee!”, “click, click”, “wobble, wobble”, “swoosh!” etc. – and is just getting the hang of moving the sliding parts.

With minimal text, including “hello…” and simple questions, this series is perfect for Peapod now. A big thumbs up from us!

My First Touch and Find – Sea by Allison Black


This was another big hit. The illustrations are bright and appealing, with lots of colourful underwater goings on.

There’s a touch and feel element to each page, reminiscent of the That’s Not My… style, but with more going on in the book overall – there’s simple, repetitive text “Flip the flap. What’s that?” that older toddlers will be able to join in with and older children could read themselves, as well as a question on each page about something from the page before encouraging lots of observation and talk.

The lift the flap element is brilliant as the ‘flaps’ are actually shaped pages with cut outs to peel through too. Sturdier than normal flaps and creating extra interest with the holes these went down really well with Peapod. Brilliant.

This is another series we’ll be buying more of.

Squeaky Baby Bath Book – At the Beach


Its waterproof pages mean this is perfect for taking with you on a trip to the seaside. With things you’re likely to see (dolphin aside), it’s good for vocabulary and naming things and the squeaky seagull on the last page is lots of fun. This was pretty much the only thing Peapod enjoyed about the beach!

Peapod’s Picks/KLTR – Bloomsbury Boards

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.

*His social media alter ego, not his real name!
This week it’s also time for another #KLTR post, hosted by Book Bairn, Acorn Books and Laura’s Lovely Blog.

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?

Peapod’s Picks – Spring has Sprung

It’s time for another Peapod’s Picks/KLTR mash up!

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.

*His social media alter ego, not his real name!

This week it’s also time for another #KLTR post, hosted by Book Bairn, Acorn Books and Laura’s Lovely Blog.

This week, ahead of Easter, with the sun finally showing its face and daffodils, bluebells and tulips brightening our walks out, I thought we’d look at some of the spring-themed board books we’ve been reading.

Clockwise from left:

Ten Little Ladybirds by Melanie Gerth and Laura Huliska-Beith

A lovely rhyming, counting-down book with big bold numbers; bright, bumpy ladybirds to count or simply feel; and illustrations which fill the pages with colour.

Where’s Mr Duck by Ingela P Arrhenius

I’ve written before about this brilliant, bold, felt-flapped series – we love them. Simple, stylish and – most importantly – able to withstand a good deal of chewing and pulling!

Five Little Ducks by Yu-hsuan Huang

We love this song, which is a good job as its sung at pretty much every baby group we go to (though with so many variations on the ending!) and this book is lovely too. There’s a whole series of these from Nosy Crow and I think they’re great – simple but sturdy push and pull slides that are within the pages so can take a good bit of man-handling (Peapod’s not quite up to doing them himself yet, but he gives it a good go!). The illustrations are sunny and detailed with lots going on in the background to talk about and name. And there’s even a qr code link to a video of the song too!

Hooray for Hoppy by Tim Hopgood

I’m such a fan of Tim Hopgood’s illustration style – the textures, layers and print methods are really effective and the use of colour is stunning, something shown off brilliantly with all the flowers and rabbits here.

We enjoyed looking at it but this is one of those books that will last and last – covering the senses, spring time, seasons and nature there’s loads for older readers too! Perfect for reading before/after a springtime walk outdoors!

Are You There Little Bunny by Sam Taplin, Emily Dove and Nicola Butler

This is another lovely series for little readers, with peep through holes and tactile trails to follow with little fingers, as well as busy, bright illustrations it’s engaging and interactive but still durable (spot the recurring theme!)

On each page, there’s repetition of a phrase as we look for little bunny and think we’ve spotted him through the peephole, only to find it’s someone else when we turn over. Enjoyable now while Peapod’s little, but perfect for giggles and joining in with older little ones too.

Humphrey’s Garden by Sally Hunter

I have a real soft spot for the Humphrey’s Corner books. I can’t lie, the gender stereotyping is horrendous – lottie plays tea parties and dolls, daddy goes out to work while mums at home etc BUT I reassure myself that we have plenty of books that give balance to this and let it be – the soft, gentle and calming illustrations and familiar characters and everyday activities are still charming and we really like them.

The Secret Garden by Jennifer Adams and Alison Oliver

I’m a huge fan of this Baby Lit series of books. Each takes a classic and turns into a sharp and stylish primer book. Thoroughly unique and absolutely gorgeous. The Secret Garden is a flowers primer, with a quote from the book next to an image of the flowers it mentions. I love the printing technique used in this one.

Outdoors by Mel Four

You can read my review of this one here. We’re big fans of the beautiful images and the way the shiny, colourful parts contrast with the black and white.

That’s Not My… Bee/Bunny/Chick/Lamb by Fiona Watt and Rachel Wells

While we love all the other books mentioned, That’s Not My… are definitely Peapod’s favourites. He LOVES this series! We have about 20 now and it’s a god job there’s so many as we read them all the time! You can read a more detailed review of them here.

Poppy and Sam’s Animal Hide and Seek

I requested and received an advance copy of this free from the publishers, in exchange for an honest review. All views are my own.

This is possibly still a little old for Peapod (7mths) to fully appreciate. We’ll still read it together sometimes but I know we’ll get a lot more from it and read it WAY more often as he gets a little older.

Perfect for toddlers (I’d say 12mths+ as a very rough guide), especially fans of the That’s Not My… or Where’s Mr/Mrs… series. The Poppy and Sam books provide a bit more in both text and interactive elements, but are still simple, repetitive and engaging for very young readers.

Peapod enjoyed the touchy-feel elements, though many are smaller than he’s used to. There’s multiple textured images on each page though so great for older babies. Likewise, he loved the flaps but still needed some help to not tear or eat them!

Each page in Poppy and Sam’s farmyard introduces a different farmyard animal in increasing numbers, perfect for developing counting and vocabulary. With one of the animals hiding on each page, there’s plenty of fun ‘finding’ them and the background images are full of detail too, again brilliant for language, observation, making connections and finding out about the world.

And of course, there’s the duck. Oh, the Usborne yellow duck! How I LOVED finding this duck growing up.

Older toddlers and young children (and their parents – you know you do a silent cheer when you find him first. Admit it.) will love hunting for the yellow duck on each page.

A brilliant series – flaps, textures and duck hunting with lovely illustrations and loads of opportunities for talk, learning about the world, counting and early reading. Thumbs very much up!

Peapod’s Picks/KLTR – Classic Collection #1

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.

*His social media alter ego, not his real name!

This week it’s also time for another #KLTR post, hosted by Book Bairn, Acorn Books and Laura’s Lovely Blog.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Peapod has really taken to his Hungry Caterpillar toy this week, he’s been commando-ing over to get it from the shelf and playing with it loads, so of course we’ve been reading it loads too!

Our only copy was this one:

It’s absolute treasure – it was mine and my sister’s when we were little. It also still has mum’s name inside from when she used it in school teaching, which is then semi-crossed out and replaced by mine from when I did the same.

So, we will keep it and read it too, but I wanted a more durable one for him to enjoy (read: eat) too, so we bought the board book version too.

It’s been a big hit already. To say he’s turning the pages would be a huge exaggeration but it’s lovely seeing him flip through the fruits and open and close it…in between chews of course!

When we bought it, I couldn’t resist getting the finger puppet book too. And I’m really glad we did – it’s a board book too so ticks all the handling/chewing/chucking boxes and he loves the caterpillar puppet (you guessed it, mostly he loves chewing it!). I really like that it’s a simple 1-5 counting primer using the fruit from the story but with added description – juicy oranges, tart plums etc – which makes it more interesting to read and will add to its longevity.

He’s had the cloth book for a while but has been looking at that more this week too. I love how soft and light it is – nice to hold and feel, chewable, hard to damage and even more hard to damage himself with! He also really likes grabbing the caterpillar’s head on the front!

Buying this in board book format made me think about which others we should have like this too. Obviously there’ll be those books that become favourites as he grows that we might choose to get, but I’m going to get some ‘classics’ too.

Which classic (or newer!) picture books would you add to his board book collection?