"Every little girl needs a book about farmyard machinery" we said to ourselves as we took this book off the shelves, "perhaps it will help us fight the sea of pink which at times threatens to completely overwhelm us". So buy it we did and it was back home for the tester, Olivia, to get her grubby sticky paws on our latest literary offering.
Mike Brownlow has illustrated a couple of these Move It! books : Move It! Garage, Move It! Builders and Move It! Rescue are the others in this particular series. They are basic activity board books with cardboard pieces which move and spin, designed for toddlers and young children to play with. They are all large format (12.4 x 8.7 x 0.6 inches) cardboard books with ten pages in total, featuring simple bright cheerful pictures designed to appeal to this age group.
The front cover features the farmer on his red tractor and his black and white dog. The wheels on his tractor spin around thanks to small finger-shaped cut out pieces around the edges.
Move it!- On the other side of the cover there is nothing to move, just wheel shaped holes on the farmer's landrover. Olivia loves it when my fingers suddenly appear through the holes, but this page was a little disappointing for me.
Carry It!- A picture of a quadbike. The wheels spin (they also belong to the tractor on the front cover). There is a basket on the back of the quadbike and when the tab at the top is pulled, the farmer's dog pops up.
This one is definitely Olivia's favourite, she loves it when the dog appears.
Fill it!- We are in the milking shed with three brown cows. As you pull the three tabs on the top the milk fills up in the containers.
Cut it!- Out in the fields again and there is a large red combine harvester cutting the wheat. A big blue tractor is collecting the wheat in its big blue trailer. On this page turning the dial deposits the wheat into the trailer and a back/forward sliding section turns the combine harvester's blades.
Shred it!- The farmer is shredding some unwanted trees and the dial on the top deposits the mulch into his trailer.
Tip it!- The farmer works the tipper truck to dump grain? hay? manure? onto the farmyard. The tipper truck back section lifts up in a 'tipping' motion. This one has suffered the most as as it is the biggest. It is definitely feeling wobblier than the others and looks more battered.
Lift It!- The farmer is lifting some sacks of grains on a pallet with a pulley into his barn. The pallet can be moved up and down by little fingers, revealing the farmer's dog hiding underneath. This one was the easiest one for my daughter to manage.
Drive it!-You are inside the famer's tractor. By moving the sliding section on the wheel from left to right the whole page behind moves, giving the impression of a moving vehicle. A cow pops up in one wingmirror and disappears as the wheel is moved, causing a sheep to pop up in the other mirror. This one was almost impossible for me to manage, even when the book was flat on the floor.
As a picture book this book is excellent, the pictures are bright and clear, there is plenty to look at and Olivia enjoyed flipping the pages to look at the pictures. It has a wide range of machinery and situations to look at and discuss and the animals featured are friendly and appealing, especially the farmer's dog. In fact I keep this one in the bathroom as it keeps Olivia quiet just long enough for me to have a shower and has done for months now (Olivia is 22 months and we have had this book out since she was 10 months). There have also been several milk etc spillages on the pages and these have wiped off with a damp cloth with minimal marking and warping.
However as an activity book it definitely has its drawbacks. They appear to have concentrated on the sturdy and solid aspects of a book like this and ignored the usability. Most of the flaps are virtually impossible for small fingers to move, even after a year, and I have hurt my fingers testing some of them for this review. The force required to move them has caused them to be slightly battered looking and dog eared. Behind the wheels and the sliding sections the marks of fingernails have removed quite a bit of the colour and it doesnt look as nice as it did when it arrived. In addition certain parts of the book are vulnerable to stresses and have bent over. These include certain parts of the tipper truck and parts of the Lift It! pallets of sacks.
I would have preferred a few more moving parts as one page has none at all and the majority only have one. There is plenty of space on the page for more so I feel that this is an area in which they have missed out a bit.
Overall we do like this book and it is a good buy. I have recommended it to several Swiss friends and expats who have gone crazy over it and bought it for their children as well. I also have a 5 year old who I look after who will happily spend half an hour with it on his lap (although he isnt able to move all the bits either).
We also have Move It! Builders which I bought in a moment of excitement, there are fewer moving pieces but they are much easier to move. I am holding off on buying the rest of the series until Olivia is a bit older.
Has it helped fight against the tide of pink? Maybe a little, tractor was Olivia's third word, but if asked she always prefers a pink tractor.
Its RRP is £5.99 but Amazon have it for £4.79 at the moment. Best marketplace price is £2.64.
This multi-novelty board book is perfect for little hands to explore the machines you find on the farm! Sturdy and totally interactive, children will have hours of fun pushing, pulling, turning and lifting. From milking the cows to lifting loads and driving a tractor - this is the ideal book for active kids who love to get stuck in!