ABCs of Kindness

ABCs of Kindness
Samantha Berger and Ekaterina Trukhan
Highlights

I suspect most people would agree that since the start of this current pandemic they’ve discovered that it’s not material things that are important, but acts of kindness. Now here’s a large format alphabet board book that presents different ways of being kind be that to one another, to animals, to the planet or to ourselves.

Thus we have, ‘F is for Finding a friend who sits alone and sitting with them’; ‘’D is for Donating your blanket to a dog who doesn’t have one’;

G is for Gratitude – remembering things to be grateful for every night’; ‘P is for Protecting and Preserving our planet’

and ‘Q is for Quiet moments to listen to the world around you.’

Each example is illustrated in bold bright, geometric style and Ekaterina Trukhan’s overall visual presentation is diverse and inclusive. If you work with young children and want to encourage them to be considerate and respectful towards others and the planet then this is a good starting point; it’s sufficiently large to be shared with a group rather than just an individual.

A Clutch of Activity Books

Here’s a selection of activity books kindly sent for review by GMC distributors

How to Draw All the Things for kids
How to Draw Modern Flowers for kids

Alli Koch
Blue Star Press
All young children are creative but as they get older they become inhibited and want things to ‘look right’, no matter what we teachers say in their early years.
Now here are two books by Alli Koch that will help them to draw confidently. The first is a general one with items such as vehicles, items of clothing, animals such as a hedgehog, cat or dog, a whale and a turtle, a dragon even.
The second features flowers from lavender to lotus, and marigold to magnolia. (I like the way each flower is assigned a meaning – a marigold is ‘the flower of creativity’, lotus the flower of patience, anemone the flower of ‘being true’, for instance. There are separate spreads for leaves, houseplants and more. Each of the featured items is drawn in eight, easy to follow steps and make the learning process both achievable and fun.

For younger children are:

Write-on Wipe Off My First ABC Hidden Pictures
Write-on Wipe Off My First 123 Hidden Pictures

Highlights
These two sturdily built board books come with marker pens so that little ones can develop their letter and number writing skills on the wipe-clean pages as well as have fun with solving the various puzzles, finding the hidden items in a scene or adorning items such as a cake. There are mazes, matching games and looking for items starting with a specific letter sound in the ABC book. Both uppercase and lowercase letters are presented with directional arrows above the humorous illustration on each page.
The numbers book has a double spread allocated to ‘let’s learn’ and ‘let’s find’ from 0 to 10 so for instance a child has to trace and write the number 4, count and circle 4 oranges and 4 bananas on the verso and locate the 4 cats, find and circle the four illustrated items within the big picture as well as searching for other groups of 4 therein. They’ll surely enhance both fine motor skills and observational skills with these two playful books.

Balloon Search, Banana Search, Sock Search, Lollipop Search
My First Hidden Pictures series

Playtime Puzzles, Barnyard Puzzles, Pet Puzzles
Hidden Pictures series
Highlights
Ideal for filling the odd few minutes, either on a journey, on holiday or on a dark, chilly evening are these search-and -find books.
The first series My First Hidden Pictures for the youngest age children have in addition to the thematic hidden objects to find, simple word games, drawing activities, dot-to-dots, colouring and drawing, matching and more.
The Hidden Pictures series includes pages of stickers that relate to the pages indicated and each has more than fifty hidden picture puzzles and a total of 500 objects hiding in plain sight in the themed pages that includes such funky spreads as Frosty Farm with sledging animals, Fiddling Frogs and a Community Garden among the Barnyard Puzzles. Pet Puzzles offers such zany activities as a host of felines in a beauty salon all desirous of ‘Purr-fect Nails’ (no social distancing or mask wearing here!) to colour and adorn with stickers. Meanwhile in Playtime Puzzles you can find a pair of octopuses playing table tennis with several bats, each inviting users ‘Let’s Play’ whereas ‘Catch of the Day’ has a comical coloured scene of two turtles fishing from a rowing boat bordered by small pictures of items to search the scene for.
There are hours of immersive screen-free fun between the covers of each book.

The Singing Mermaid Make and Do Book / Jumbo Pad of My First Puzzles, Jumbo Pad of Brain Teasers, 501 Dinosaur Joke-Tivities

The Singing Mermaid Make and Do Book
Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks
Macmillan Children’s Books

Here’s an activity book based on the popular The Singing Mermaid picture book from a few years back that’s especially apt for fans of the story and those who enjoy creating.

There are more than a dozen art/craft activities many of which are mermaid related such as the seaweed crown and tail patterns. For their simplicity I particularly like the ‘Mermaid Tail Footprints’ that can be turned into merpeople

and the sea creatures made from shells and pipe cleaners .
Having made the circus performers, those who want something more sophisticated, can go on to create a circus tent theatre and even put on a show.

Most projects have a lead-in quote from the story, and all have a list of items required, clear step-by-step instructions, some ‘tips, tricks and twists’ and funky illustrations by Lydia Monks. There are also 200+ stickers and some templates should youngsters feel the need to use them.

With school now over for the holidays, this book provides hours of crafty fun.

Jumbo Pad of My First Puzzles
Jumbo Pad of Brain Teasers
501 Dinosaur Joke-Tivities
Highlights for Children

Hours and hours of puzzling for youngsters can be found between the covers of these three.

My First Puzzles is aimed at under 6s and the Brain Teasers are for those age 6+, while both age groups will find plenty of things to enjoy in Dinosaur Joke-Tivities.

Younger puzzlers can hunt for hidden items in a variety of scenes, or search for things that are the same and different, or begin with a given letter sound to look for matching pairs, there are mazes, pictures to colour and to adorn with some of the 150 stickers provided, and a wealth of ‘silly things’ to find.

There are over 125 Brain Teasers some of which are of a mathematical nature. Others offer thematic words to unscramble, puzzles that require logical thinking to solve, words to find that rhyme with a given one, quizzes, riddles and much more. (all solutions provided).

With cartoons, tongue twisters, riddles and of course, jokes, there’s silliness galore in 501 Dinosaur Joke-Tivities as well as plenty to exercise the little grey cells of users. There’s even a story to finish. Here’s one of the jokes: ‘What dinosaur loved playing with blocks?’ – answer, Lego-saurus.

With long holidays now upon us, these offer indoor, screen-free fun aplenty.

Board Book Bundle

Who Says Peek A Boo?
Who Says Hippity Hop?

Highlights for Children

It’s absolutely NEVER too early to introduce children to books.
In this pair of photographically illustrated books, babies can engage in a game of peek-a-boo with some favourite animals; or join some lively animals chasing after colourful eggs as they decide whether to hippity hop, flippity flop, drippity drop, slippity slop, clippity clop with kitten, duckling, piglet, pony and bunny.
Each book has a mirror on the final page, which completes the question and response sequence.

More questions in:

Do Cats Moo?
Salina Yoon
Sterling

Salina Yoon’s latest in her lift-the-flap rhyming series for tinies that features animals and the sounds they make. This one showcases the titular cats along with pups, hamsters, birds, goldfish, bunnies, hedgehogs and turtles, all of which assemble for a gloriously cacophonous final double gatefold farewell wherein toddlers too can participate with their squeaks, sniffs, snuffles, splish-splashes, glubs, chirps, barks and meows.

Go, Boats, Go!
Addie Boswell and Alexander Mostov
Little Bigfoot

Boswell and Mostov add a new title to their In-Motion board book series with their rhyming introduction to water craft of all shapes and sizes. There are boats, old and new, pedal boats, boats to row and boats to sail, boats for work and boats for leisure, some powered by humans, others by machines; there’s even a boat that appears to fly, in this playful assembly of vessels each one colourfully illustrated in the ten double spreads.

That’s Silly! Rhyme Time
illustrated by Mar Ferrero
Highlights for Children

In just half a dozen double-page spreads, each with a gatefold on either side, youngsters can have fun discovering over 90 daft rhymes in such silly places as a Bog Fog and a Snowflake Lake.
The locations visited vary from a park to the moon, and include a busy town (good to see a bookshop there) and the seaside.

There are hours of potential fun, rhyme style herein; and with rhyme being one of the 3Rs of reading, this is definitely worth sharing with little ones who will also develop their observation skills in response to ‘What else do you see? What else is silly?’ on every page.

Animal Scramble / Space Puzzles

Animal Scramble
Lucy Volpin
Templar Publishing

Whether it’s counting the curly haired among the crowd of camels in the camp, or searching for the five different fruits in the clutches of the acrobatic apes, youngsters will surely enjoy honing their observation skills as they peruse each and every one of Lucy Volpin’s, wonderfully droll, enormously engaging animal scenes created with coloured pencils.

Each of the spreads has an alliterative title and presents an immersive display of animals, (either large or small) that provides such fun possibilities as ‘Playing with Penguins’, ‘Building with Beetles’ ‘Flipping with Frogs’ – my favourite I think,

or, ‘Swimming with Sharks’ – perhaps not!

There’s an introductory factual paragraph and on the opposite page some thought-provoking questions that invite readers to search for objects – a square fish for instance, count, or perhaps ponder upon their own opinions in relation to say ‘which hairstyle would you like?’ on the ‘Acrobatics with Apes’ spread; or “Who do you think is leader of the pack?’ from this one …

Playfulness abounds throughout and the book concludes with a handful of additional questions to consider.

Assuredly a spotting book that merits revisiting over and over, and one that offers an absolute wealth of language potential if a small group of children look at it together.

Space Puzzles
Highlights for Children

In this bumper book of more than 100 cosmological settings, children have to search for over 1800 objects hidden in scenes ranging from a space race to an alien encounter, and a trip on a space scooter to a classroom in orbit.

Each puzzle page contains all manner of likely and unlikely items hidden in plain sight for the eagle-eyed to find, each of which has a visual prompt in the surrounding border. (Answers supplied at the back of the book in case you’re stuck.)

In these black and white puzzles there are moonstruck bears, aliens visiting a drive-in restaurant, a host of animal star gazers and a stellar souvenir shop to stop off at in the space museum to name just a few.

Hours of immersive enjoyment, especially for space lovers (that’s an awful lot of children) who will have fun sharpening their observation skills as well as their concentration: just what’s needed during holidays when you can’t get outdoors.