Book Reviews

Kitten Corner: Super Cute Animal Books

Today on Kitten Corner I thought I’d round up for you some of our recent board book reads that have an animal theme! All of these were sent to me free of charge, but that doesn’t affect my opinions.

Animal Families: River by Jane Ormes, from Nosy Crow

I really love this board book series, and this one, which features animals and birds who live by the river, is just great. My toddler loves ducks, so was delighted to reveal the baby ducklings hiding under the mummy duck, and he was also fascinated by the dragonflies, which we’re lucky to see a lot of in the garden. The text in these is simple but informative, following the formula ‘A daddy duck is called a drake, a mummy duck is called a hen, baby ducks are called ducklings’, which is a nice way for kids to start to understand the different names and that they go in sets. On the last spread, which folds out on both sides to double width, you get the collective names for each animal family! I really love the bright, cute art, which has a variety of interesting ways to show texture (in the drawing; the pages themselves aren’t textured), and the flaps are large and shaped, and easy for little hands to grab (though they are only card, so watch out if you have an overly enthusiastic flap turner).

Who Said Roar? by Becky Davies and Yi-Hsuan Wu, from Little Tiger

This is another series that always goes down brilliantly in our house – each spread asks which animal made that noise, with a wrong option that opens out to reveal the correct animal. It’s a fun way to learn animal noises, and the wrong choices are funny! Each of the pairings of wrong and right share a textured (usually fluffy) part that peeps through a hole in the flap, so it’s really interactive all around. I will say that with all the previous books in this series we’ve had, the peep-through hole has proved a weak point for at least one animal, and the flap has torn, so this is a book you do need to baby a little bit while turning; I suspect the sloth’s days are numbered! But overall we’re enjoying the exotic animals, from lions to snakes to toucans, and it’s a great addition to the series.

Under the Same Sky by Britta Teckentrup, from Little Tiger

A bit of a change of pace for this one, which is a quieter read perfect for bedtimes. Britta Teckentrup’s signature soft style is put to good use in this book, which shows how animals in very different locations are still connected. The text has a strong message of unity and love, with a differently-shaped cut out on each page meaning that the first line of each rhyming couplet is quite literally reused when you turn the page, to draw an even stronger link between each pairing. It’s a very beautiful book – perhaps one that I think might be more of a favourite with grown-ups than kids, as it’s a bit too sweet and serious, but I like it a lot.

1, 2, 3, Fish in the Sea by Luna Parks and Gareth Lucas, from Little Tiger

This is a real favourite – I get asked at least once a day for ‘fish book’! Whether it’s the bright, bold colours, the big textured numbers that peep through on each page, or the rollicking but simple rhyming story, my toddler can’t get enough of this book. As adult I find the way it’s organised a little confusing – the story starts with one fish and adds one per page, saying ‘and then there were…’ until we get to five, but the numbers kind of go the opposite way. When you have one fish, all five numbers peep through, ‘1 2 3 4 5’, and when you turn the page to have two fish, the ‘1’ disappears so the page reads ‘2 3 4 5’. That’s really weird, right? Surely you should start with just ‘1’ and then add more numbers so the kid can count ‘and then there were… 1, 2, TWO little fishies’?? Anyway, while I’m not sure this is the best book to learn to count with, my son still finds it delightful, so I can’t say I dislike it!

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