Saturday, 10 November 2007

Farm Animals by Luana Rinaldo and Louisa Sladen

Synopsis: Come to the farm and meet all sorts of animals: a cow, a pig, a horse, and a rooster. Pull the tab to see their colours magically appear.

I stumbled upon this cased board book for my toddler while browsing for books that will amuse him and hold his attention. Did it do the trick? You bet!

This is a wonderfully creative book that features bold, colour illustrations of a farm backdrop. One by one, the farm animals are introduced until the last page when they gathered together.

The “magical” part of the book is a tab on each page that transforms the individual farm animal from a black-and-white marker pen outline into its unique colours.

For example, you first see a black outline of a cow amidst a farm backdrop – the text reads,
“Here is Cow. Can you guess what colours she is?”
Pull the tab and the monochrome cow assumes a pink jaw and its Jersey appearance. Text above the cow reads,
“Cow is a bold black and white!”
The book delights my son each time I read it with him:
• At 9 months, he’d giggle gleefully when we pull the tab;
• At 1 and a half years, he could point out the individual animals when I named them;
• At 2 years, he could say the names of the animals and pull the tabs himself.

The book is great for introducing farm animals and basic colours to babies and toddlers. I also use it to teach numbers because each progressive page features the animal before the current one. At the end of the book, the child sees all the farm animals in full colour.

Children will also learn about the animals’ homes and I appreciate the fact that the author alternated between “he” and “she” when describing each farm animal.

On the down side, I find the binding flimsy and the book rather poorly constructed to withstand a toddler’s rough handling (ours have been taped all over!).

The colours of the animal on the “magic” tab are also a shade lighter than the illustrations, which causes some arguments between my toddler and I when I read out the accompanying text :)

In any case, this is one of our favourite books!

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