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!

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!