No time to be board...

There's no time to be bored with these wonderful board books! How could you be when there are so many to enjoy – to hold, touch, explore and maybe read the words too.

Board books give children of all ages the opportunity to learn to read; to explore the format and concept of books, to poke fingers through holes and even to lift flaps. For adults, board books are perfect; chunky and safe, a chance for very young children to explore their senses and also to learn – colours, numbers, words, sounds, feelings, it's all here!

A delightful collection has landed on my doorstep in the last couple of weeks – testament perhaps to the growing confidence of publishers in producing these delights and to the demand for more of them - and I will share a selection with you.

Do you have a brainy baby? A baby showing promise? Check out Little Tiger Group and their #Baby101 titles – board books with a twist! These are board books for parents to use in order to teach their children (and in my case themselves) the basics and first facts of Baby STEM! Teach your baby to be an engineer, a scientist, architect or economist with this innovative selection of titles. Featuring aerospace, mechanical, electrical and even molecular engineering (!!) people and jobs, these books are very much tongue in cheek yet have important lessons to learn - particularly the ones under the flap on the final page! As you might expect, these titles have bright and boldly designed pages, bite-sized facts and simple wording which is easy to follow and builds vocabulary at an early age.

At a more traditional level of reading and subject matter for babies, Dotty and Dash’s 1 ,2, 3 illustrated by Craig Shuttlewood and written by Patricia Hegarty is a delightful introduction to counting. Dotty and Dash need readers to help them decide on their favourite numbers between 1 and 100 - and to add to the fun, there are pop-ups to enjoy along the way! A sturdy board book, there are colourful pictures, banners running along the bottom of the pages showing the numbers and of course a wonderful rhyming text which encourages full engagement. The illustrations are sweet yet vibrant, and you can be certain this book will be perennially useful – pop ups are always a delight and there is one on every page, plus … learning to count is always a much-needed skill. Loved the book? Share your experiences #DottyandDash123.

Now from Walker Books comes a pair of nursery rhyme titles in chunky board book format. Learn (or re-learn!) a traditional rhyme, share it with little ones who will at the same time also learn their colours and numbers. In Mary Had A Little Lamb Mary does indeed have a little white lamb - plus an orange tiger, pink hippo, red monkey, blue bears, purple mouse, green crocodile, and a yellow giraffe! But why this collection of animals? You will have to follow the trail, meet all the animals, make all the noises and turn to the very last page to find out! Along the way children will have learnt eight colours, animals and even sounds.

In This Little Piggy children can learn to count all the way up to 10 with the delightful piggies of the story and a few additional characters too – can you spot them and name them? This is an exceptionally funny and fresh version of a favourite story. Children will be delighted by the colourful pictures, the graphics, the rhyming story and the chaos that the piggies are causing! Never has there been more fun learning to count to 10!

We have had counting and colours, now we can square the circle (not that shapes feature, actually) with Nosy Crow’s 100 First Words. Read all of these, and children will secure many of the building blocks they need as toddlers embarking on an understanding of the world around them - and perhaps preparing them for their very first days at nursery. In this title, Edward Underwood separates his collection of words into themes including ‘Farm’; ‘Outdoors’; ‘Animals’; ‘Home’; ‘Vehicles’; ‘About Us’; and of course the ever important ‘Bedtime’. Each theme commands a double page spread featuring flaps to lift, encouraging the inquisitive child to look for an additional word and picture. This is a delightful book in full colour and a generous, easy-to-read format.

Two additional board books from Nosy Crow to finish off with: A Book About Ralphie Dog at the Station and A Book About Betsy Rabbit in the Park! Children will love to engage with the delightful interactive elements of the story – the questions to be answered, flaps to lift, mirrors to look into, numbers to learn, greetings to be made and friends to make. ith soft felt flaps, harder card ones, questions about things to spot on every page and a story that can be told over and again, these two books are a tactile delight and certainly left me with a very big smile!

A wonderful collection of books to encourage the youngest of readers to find the words, colours and even numbers that they might need as they progress in their reading journeys – what better place to start?! I can only hope you and your readers will enjoy them as much as I have …

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