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My two older boys loved Enid Blyton's classic character, Noddy, so we accumulated quite a collection of Noddy board books over the years, which have now been passed on to my youngest son to enjoy. Amongst them is this hardbacked lift the flap book, part of a four part series, in which the character of Noddy is used to illustrate a particular theme.
The 'Look and Learn' series includes books based on Shapes, Number and Patterns, as well as this particular book that focuses on Colours. As educational as this might sound, this series isn't a favourite of mine by any means and I don't think it actually acts as a strong aid to learning on the topics that are supposed to be emphasised within each book. The Look and Learn Colours book is suitably bright and colourful, from the bold front cover featuring a smiling Noddy and lots of different coloured circles. The ten interior pages are also bright and eye-catching with Noddy and his familiar friends, Tessie Bear and Big Ears, taking part in various activities. As you'd expect Noddy features heavily across all of the pages so this is one that would delight any young fans.
Where this starts to seem less successful is as an aid to teaching young children different colours, which is what you would expect from a book with this kind of title. Each two page spread introduces a single colour, with the aid of a single lift-the-flap tab. The book follows a pretty basic format with just a small amount of text on each page, which is always handy for toddlers with limited attention spans. Each double page spread makes a statement about the activity that Noddy is doing (which generally has nothing to do with colours at all, bar the first page where Noddy is painting.) The opposite then asks the child to find a specific coloured item. For example; Noddy is busy painting. Where is the blue paint pot? This example might make the book seem pretty educational and challenging for the toddlers and pre-schoolers that this is primarily aimed at. The reality is that, as there is only a single flap on the pages and there is only paint pot (or whatever item is being found) under the flap, there really is no challenge at all. I can contrast this with lots of other lift the flap books that we own where there is a series of flaps available so a child really needs to think about the question and concentrate on selecting the right option.
Another issue is that the items chosen to feature under the flaps aren't particularly strongly associated with that specific colour. The items chosen and the colours they are seem pretty random really; a purple balloon, yellow bird, green book and (more appropriately) a red apple are featured. I would expect a book for this age group to choose items that are much more strongly associated with their colours- yellow bananas and green teas, for instance, as that would seem more logical in terms of a child's learning. I've actually had the complete series of Noddy Look and Learn books since my oldest son was around eighteen months old. The fact that it is still in excellent condition with all of the flaps intact is less an indication of the physical quality of the book itself as much as proof that this has never been one of the most popular books on our bulging shelves.
My youngest son would quite happily bring this book over to me to read from around sixteen months old and will still choose this one occasionally now that he is two years old although it is not a favourite. I suspect he likes the bold, bright colourful images within it and flaps are always popular with pre-schoolers. I'm not convinced that the book is particularly useful in terms of helping him to learn different colours but the flaps are useful for developing his hand-eye co-ordination and the repetition of the simple text is helpful for language development too.
In all, I'm a little ambivalent about this book and the series as a whole. If this is bought for an ardent little Noddy fan, I think this would be a popular choice. I wouldn't recommend this as a book to establish and reinforce colour recognition for toddlers, however, as I think there are much better books available for that purpose.
Used copies available from 1p plus postage on Amazon