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I absolutely love Jellycat toys so I was really pleased when my son received the Jellycat Pet's Tails Soft Book for Christmas. - Jellycat - For those who have not heard of this amazing brand, it was established in 1999 and most of the items they produce are soft toy animals. Some items in their range are from a line known as Jellykitten. Some other Jellycat/kitten items I have seen for sale include animal baby booties, blankets, comforters, animal bags, cot mobiles, rattles and of course soft books. The whole range is very sweet and tasteful. - The Book - The book measures approximately 20cm by12 cm and is made from polyester fibres and cellophane. There are ten pages including the front and back each decorated with bright colours, animals and their tails. The front page shows all eight animals featured in the book and has the name of the book 'Pet's Tails'. There is also a hidden button which when pressed makes the dog bark. Then each page inside has a picture of an animal with a 3D textured tail that sticks out from the edge of the page. There is a line accompanying each animal. For example on the first page there is a pony with brown cords for his tail and the line says 'I love my pony his tail is hairy'. The other pages feature a bunny, budgie, stick insect, mouse, fish, kitten and puppy each with a touchy feely tail. The back of the book shows all the animals again and states that it was designed by Anne Wilkinson for Jellycat. The front and back pages are both crinkly so they make a nice noise when touched. When the book is closed you can see and feel all the tails which are staggered up the side of the book. There is material loop which is done up by Velcro at the top of the book so it can be attached onto a play mat, buggy, car seat etc. Overall the book is very colourful and attractive and looks like it would be very appealing to babies. - Playing/Learning - There is so much going on in this book that it makes a useful teaching tool. There are animals and colours to name, animals and tails to count and match up, and textures and materials to feel. I do all this with my son but at 13 months he hasn't quite got the hang of recognising the different animals himself but he does listen attentively while I tell him about each animal and make the relevant noises. He loves it when I read the 'I love my...' lines as I think the repetition really appeals to him. Whenever we read books he loves to touch (hit and rip) the pages so this is a great book for him as there is lots of touching and feeling to be done and I know he won't be able to damage the book in any way. My son also likes to play with the book by himself. This consists of hitting and shaking the book, making the pages crinkle, pulling the tails, sucking the tails and more recently he has decided it's fun to take his toys and give them to people then wait expectantly for them to say "thank you" to him. Overall this is a really fun book/toy that my son really enjoys. My only criticisms would be that the dog barking is really quiet so my son barely notices it and that it appears like the bunny not only has a white fluffy bunny tail but also a long blue budgie tail. These points are only minor though. - Age Range - This book is suitable from birth. While there is no reason it couldn't be given to a newborn I would suggest that most babies wouldn't be interested in it until they are around two months old. My son was six months when he was given this and he still plays with it now at 13 months and likes me to read it to him. - Cleaning - So far I have only wiped this book to clean it and this has been sufficient. I have machine washed another Jellycat soft book and it did fade slightly but was otherwise ok. - Price and Availability - This soft book is available from John Lewis where it sells for around £11 while on Amazon it is priced at £8.99 so it is worth looking around. I think this is quite pricy compared to other soft books but there is so much going on with this book that I think it is worth the price. There are other books in the same style called Jungly Tails and Farm Tails. - Would I Recommend? - I would definitely recommend Pet's Tails as it is a lovely, fun and educational book which we have had a lot of use from. I think soft books in general are great for introducing babies to the world of books and reading and this is a great example.
Pet's Tails is a soft, cloth book that Liam was given when he was born. It is from Jellycat, a British company specialising in luxury soft toys. Founded in London in 1999, their products are sold both online and through various retailers. I believe that Liam's book was purchased in John Lewis in Glasgow. The book consists of a front and back cover depicting all the animals featured and four double pages, each with two pets. For each animal there is a short sentence mentioning the name of the animal and describing their tail e.g. "I love my mouse - his tail is long and squirmy" or "I love my bunny with his wobbly bobbly tail." The front cover contains a wee "press me" feature giving the sound of a dog barking. The front and back covers both produce a crinkly noise when handled too. The front cover measures 12cm x 21cm (4½" x 8½") and it has a small Velcro loop for attaching to pushchairs and the like. As the name suggests, the book features various pets with the tails of the animals on the sides of the book in a good variety of textures, shapes and colours. There is an imaginative diversity of fabrics and materials to stimulate the "reader". Liam is particularly fond of chewing the fluffy blue parrot's tail but prefers to be tickled by the fluffy bunny bobble tail. And he loves the fact that he can make the crinkly noise all by himself just by crumpling the outer pages with his chubby wee fingers! The text is simple, short and bold. Liam's big sisters like to have a go at reading it to him (and because there is no "story" as such, they can just make up what they aren't able to actually read yet.) There is plenty of scope for discussion about colours, animals, shapes and textures for toddlers and, as you would expect with a book like this, it is all highly tactile and the noises of the crinkly pages and the dog barking just add to the experience. The communal picture of all the animals on the covers gives an opportunity for recognition and identification games e.g. "Where's the budgie?", "Can you see the fish?" etc. Although the animals tend to be staggered on the pages so that the tails are at various heights on the page, the bunny does appear to have a long blue fluffy tail, as well as the traditional white bobble tail - which I find slightly amusing (and a little disconcerting.) Jellycat recommend surface washing and drying with a hairdryer for their products, although I had to glean this information from a website as the labels on the product do not contain washing instructions. This book is suitable from birth. Like Liam, this book is almost exactly 6 months old, and it is still in excellent condition. It has been chewed and gnawed, toted about in the pushchair, the car seat and in the change bag and still looks great. The only downside; I do find myself fretting about the positioning of that apostrophe...I'm sure it's right but for some reason it just looks wrong... That aside I love this book and more importantly, so does Liam. It is so important to get children interested in books at an early age (even if they do want to chew them) and I feel this is an excellent and very welcome gift for any new baby. I imagine it would also be a valuable resource if working with children with learning needs due to the tactile nature of the materials used. I predict this book will remain a favourite with Liam for quite some time. Recommended - five stars! Other information: Available from various online retailers including www.justjellycat.co.uk for £8.75, www.trustytoys.co.uk for £9.99 and www.mailorderexpress.com for £8.50 Made in China Made from Polyester Fibres and Cellophane