Baby Animals by Jim Pipe
Geared Towards: Ages 4-8
Published By: Stargazer Books
Publication Date: January 2007 (reprint- library binding)
ISBN- 13: 978-1596041110
Part of the "Read and Play" book line from Stargazer, Baby Animals is one I'd certainly recommend for parents/educators with children as young as 1 or 2, not just the 4-8 yrs age group as suggested in the publisher information. While the younger of the group would not be able to read the book themselves, obviously, they would most definitely be drawn to the clear, close up animal pictures (such as puppies, kittens, lambs, piggies, and more) featured throughout. Likewise, this would be an excellent training tool to help teach these younger, not quite there yet, readers the names of the baby animals.
With a simple text and featured word blocks, older children who are new or learning readers will easily be able to navigate through the book on their own or with minimal help. Phrases on each page concisely refer to the animal pictured, and help the young child learn the baby animal names and occasionally a very basic fact about the animal.
Upon coming to the end, readers will find the "play" portion of this book which entails three quick games. The first inspires the child to recall visual details about four of the featured animals as he/she is asked to match the animal name to its pictured part. The second shows a picture of an animal included in the story, and asks the young reader to count the number of babies. Next there are four of the featured animals pictured, and the reader is asked to make the sound each animal would make. Lastly, on the index page, there are several images pictured from in the book, and the child is asked to find the pages each picture was on.
I loved how this book prompts the reader to use his/her mind, even if he/she is not of reading age. A child as young as 1 or 2 won't grasp the counting aspect on that particular quiz, but he/she will most definitely be able to begin recognizing the animals by sight and with help learning the noises each makes. The older kids can practice their memorization skills and counting skills as well. And don't let the learning and play stop there. Flip to the Parent/Teacher guide located on the last page of the book. Listed there are several themed tie in questions and activities that one can use to continue teaching, quizing, and playing with their kids even after you've finished reading the book.
I read this today with my 2 year old, and she absolutely loved it. As suspected, she was drawn to the animal pictures, quickly began displaying her knowledge by rattling off the names of the adult animals, and the animal's sound. She needed help with several of the names in their baby form, but that's exactly the point of this book- to teach the baby names to the child. At the end of the story, we were able to do all three activities included in the "play" section. We worked together on the counting one, but the rest she did on her own. So, yes, while referenced as being for children 4+, I stick to my guns about believing there's no reason a younger child couldn't enjoy and benefit from this book.
OUR RATING: 5 Hearts