I have always been a fan of Barefoot Books. One of the first books Mr Z used to enjoy as a baby was Bear on a Bike, even before he could understand words he loved the rhyming sound of it! We have quite a few in our collection now and recently we received a very exciting parcel for review – full of Barefoot goodies from Aisha’s Barefoot Stories!
Aisha is a Barefoot Ambassador and selected some of her favourites for the boys to try out.
This is a large and colourful board book with peepo holes. The illustration style is lovely, almost like a patchwork collage with loads of texture.
The text is quite short and easy for a young toddler to follow, with only one sentence per page. It is all written in rhyme too which gives it a sing song feel. This is ideal for Mr R as he hasn’t got the longest attention span just yet, at two years old. He also likes to read through books by himself and sit and turn the pages and inspect all of the pictures. I can feel comfortable with him exploring this book to his heart’s content as the pages are thick and strong, and totally toddler proof. The peepo holes are a good alternative to lifting flaps too as there is nothing to be accidently ripped off.
There is so much to pick out on each page and Mr R loves to point out the different animals and show me what he has seen.
Next up is a matching book and puzzle set which Mr T (3) and Mr Z (5) really enjoyed.
Port Side Pirates is a sing a long book which comes complete with a CD.
Normally my boys are less interested in books which just have songs in them, as they want a story but because of the pirate theme and the catchy tune they did really like this one. Once we had read it, I heard Mr Z wandering around the house singing to himself:
Oh we go this way, that way,
Port Side, Starboard
Over the deep blue sea!
This is a tune which I remember from childhood so even before listening to the CD I was easily able to sing it with the boys and once you know the tune, all of the pages of the book easily fit into that.
The illustrations in this book by Debbie Harter are unmistakeably Barefoot Books style as she has provided the illustrations for some of the most well known titles. They are bright and bold and as you would expect with Barefoot Books, lots of details to pick out so you can loose yourself in the pictures.
As well as the song, there are Pirate facts at the back of the book. This includes pages on
A map of all the different parts of a pirate ship (which Mr Z found really fascinating and he loved how it was labelled up with the numbers and key),
Information on the different types of pirate ships and boats
Types of Pirates around the world
You also get the sheet music for the song at the back
This would make a nice gift for any little Pirate enthusiast especially when paired with the matching puzzles shown below.
The Port Side Pirates Puzzles come in a box of two – One puzzle with 12 pieces and one puzzle with 24. These were perfect for Mr T (3, nearly 4) and Mr Z also enjoyed them although they were on the easier side for him. Mr R was also able to help them though not to do the whole puzzles by himself just yet.
The puzzles are lovely quality with strong thick and durable pieces. They have a coloured band around the edges which does help littler ones to get a hint about where to put some of the pieces and makes it more manageable for them. Just like the book, the puzzles have the immediately recognisable Barefoot Books feel and brilliantly bright and detailed pictures.
These were great to give Mr T more confidence in his puzzles, which is all beneficial for his logic and fine motor skills. It was lovely to see Mr Z helping and supporting him with it too, as they were able to work together. It was an ideal calm activity for them to do together after school.
My boys all seem to be quite interested in numbers, so this kind of book always appeals to them. Mr Z (5) is moving on to more advanced maths now but loved this type of book for years, and now Mr T (3) is just at the right stage for this book as he is practising his counting and numbers a lot and is still consolidating those.
What’s great about this book is that it also incorporates all about different countries and cultures along side the counting, so children can pick up quite a bit of new information. You see Granny travelling through China, Thailand, Russia and many more destinations – each complete with plenty of illustrations. My favourite is Russia, the pictures are gorgeous with all the trees and Russian architecture. This book is also written in rhyme with a sing song feel to it, perfect for keeping younger children’s attention.
The song and the tune is one that the boys and I are all familiar with as we used to sing it at our old children’s centre, although with slightly different words (Down in the Jungle). It brought back fond memories as they used to love doing this song at the singing group!
On each page of the book the story asks, who is that creature… and then when you turn the page you find out, along with repetition of the main part of the song. It’s a lovely, colourful, musical song for any child who is interested in animals (which most of them are!) My boys all enjoyed this book and like Port Side Pirates it also has a CD for you to listen and read along. This is also illustrated by Debbie Harter, and reminds me a little of the classic Barefoot Book Walking Through the Jungle. If you have a child who really enjoys that book, the chances are they would love this one too!
Barefoot Books have a massive collection of books suitable from babies through to 12+, and they also have many toys and puzzles available to compliment the books. This is just a taste of what is available!