Where is Maisy?

Maisy is a much-loved character amongst young children and Lucy Cousins’ bright, cheery illustrations are instantly recognisable.   Her books are a hugely successful brand (including a television series, website and toys) but part of the reason for that success is the simplicity of her approach and the fact that different books are suitable for different ages.

This simple lift-the-flap book is ideal as a first baby book but would be enjoyed for a long time.  Maisy hides and you have to look for her on each page.  It’s a common concept for an early book but this one is nicely executed.  Each flap is a different shape with a slightly different angle of opening, so plenty of opportunity for older babies to practise their dexterity.  There are different animals hiding behind each flap, giving you lots to talk about whilst reading.  The question is the same on each page – “Is Maisy in the boat?” “Is Maisy in the wardrobe?” – and the repetition will therefore help with comprehension and word recognition.  The illustrations are as always: simple, bright, high contrast and charming.

Enjoy reading this by exaggerating the suspense on each page and over-dramatising ‘No, not here!’.  Young children, once they learn to speak, can start to offer the response themselves.  Knock on the door to find Maisy at the end, and encourage baby to copy you.

A simple but effective book that is ideal for babies and toddlers.


Eyes, nose, toes Peekaboo!

This is a great baby book from Dorling Kindersley.

On each left hand page is a photograph of a baby and a question, for example, “Where are Dinosaur’s toes?”  On the right is a picture of the dinosaur with a blanket over his feet.  This partially cut-out page flips open to show his toes, which are made of padded sparkly material and very squishable.  You can see the fully unfolded page below.

After you find Dolly’s eyes, Teddy’s nose, Rabbit’s ears, and Dinosaur’s toes, on the final page is a baby with her hands over her eyes who flips open to say ‘Peekaboo!’.  The end of the book invites you to point to your own eyes, nose, ears and toes.

These are very popular with babies and toddlers and it is easy to see why.  The photos and text are on a plain white background, minimising fuss and creating strong contrasts.  The toys photographed are beautiful objects in their own right (the doll has little knitted fingers covering her eyes) and the baby pictures will encourage children to engage and interact with the book.  The flaps are also nearly a whole page in size making them robust and also easy to fix if they do come loose.  It is short, simple, and well-designed.

The simple text and questions and the invitation to point to your own features at the end makes this an idea way for babies to enjoy learning about themselves.

Dorling Kindersley rarely disappoint, and this series (there are a number of others) is no exception.  Pretty, fun, and educational: an ideal early book.