I don't do a whole lot of "baby books" on the blog, as I don't see them as often as the picture books, middle grade, and young adult books that I work with every day. I recently had the chance to review a few books from the Begin Smart series, which I was familiar with, but had never sat down and really thought out how infants and toddlers would respond to the claims the series makes.
My overall thoughts on the series are incredibly positive, as I really enjoyed flipping through the books and I feel the claims can easily be reached with the age set they are each aimed towards. The tagline of the series is "A Developmental Read-and-Play Book Program for Babies and Toddlers" and the books really are to be read with and played with, opening up great possibilities in getting children to love books from an early age.
The series is broken into sub-series by age level, beginning with Newborn-6 months. These books focus on visual skills and repetitive texts, which are shown through bold colors and simple drawings. These books also have small animals or squeaker attached for play.
The Six to Twelve months books include touch-and-feels and more sounds to start to encourage the different senses. Some parts of the books have teethers, which is probably a necessary part for this stage in life! Built sturdy to withstand little teeth and more noise elements could help children recognize specific sounds.
The Twelve to Eighteen months books are the most vibrant and fun, understandably. Different interactive aspects are included with each book, including button pushing, die-cuts to encourage an object permanence theory, and an introduction to colors.
Finally, for the Eighteen months to 2 years set, there are books focusing on rhyming, finger-play, more noises, and advanced peek-a-book concepts. Some of these books have handles and eye-holes, encouraging children to hold the books themselves and interact with the story. There is also a cool set of flash cards for learning games, which includes talking points for parents to keep their children engaged in the activity.
The idea of using this series to evoke a love of reading at an early age and to encourage different system developments is awesome! I would love to someday have the chance to start my own children from the newborn books and work through the end of the series and really give a solid review, but for now, I can only tell you that I see the books as a lot of fun and worth your time. Even if you aren't into buying an entire series, the books do stand alone just fine.
Review copies provided by publisher.
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