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Since Little Man started in Reception in September he has been bringing home a new book once or twice a week for us to share together. At the end of last week he brought home Shark in the Park by Phil Roxbee Cox and illustrated by Stephen Cartwright which is part of the Usborne Phonics Readers series. The story is about a cute little dog called Pup who thinks he has spotted a shark in the park. He runs around the park telling all his friends - Fat Cat, Big Pig, Hen and Sam Sheep - that he has seen a Shark and describing different attributes of it like its nose, fin and teeth. Pup's friends are quite sceptical that he has seen a shark so they all go down to the lake to look. Is there really a shark in the park? This book is designed to help children as they begin to learn to read, using a lot of rhyming and repeated phonic sounds and I think it would be ideal for a child that has understood the basics of reading and phonics. However we used this book just to read along at home - Little Man only turned 4 in August and is the youngest in his class, and is only just starting to get to grips with phonics and this is a bit too wordy for him at the moment. He really loved this book though, and the repetition meant that he could memorise parts easily and loved joining in with '"There's a Shark in the Park!" Pup barks.' The illustrations in the book are simple but lovely, with an almost cartoon like quality. There are lift the flap pages where Pup describes the shark's features which are always a winner with Little Man. There is also the added extra of a little yellow duck being hidden on each page for you to find - it's not quite Where's Wally but was enough to get the attention of a 4 year old! This is the first book I have read from the Usborne Phonics series but I will definitely be looking out for more in future. They work well as read together books, as well as having the longevity of becoming read alone books as your child progresses. We only borrowed our copy, but the RRP of the book is £4.99 and it is available on Amazon for £3.74 delivered.
Shark in the Park is another book from the Usborne Phonics Readers series for 3-5yr olds. It retails at £4.99 individually but you can get it as part of a box set for a discounted price usually if you prefer. I got the box set including twelve titles from the Usborne Phonics Readers series for £9.99 from the Book People. I'm reviewing all of the titles that we own so please see my other reviews if you're thinking about buying any of the titles from this series. I think it's important that I point out first of all that this book is written by Phil Roxbee and Stephen Cartwright. There's another really popular kid's book called Shark in the Park by Nick Sharratt so make sure you're looking at the product you want! Shark in the Park is a short story about a Pup who's running around the park telling all of the animals that there's a shark in the park! All of the animals gather together and go down to the water, only to find that there's no shark, just Jake the Snake with his shark rubber ring. This is supposed to be an early reader's book, and to some extent it is suitable for that purpose. It is certainly not a beginner's book in my mind though as there are a fair few punctuation marks used in this book for starters. Inquisitive little minds will obviously keep interrupting every thirty seconds to ask what all the punctuation means, and it makes learning to read the actual basics a bit tricky. Also, the text appears in various places across the pages and under the lift-the-flap sections, so this again detracts from simply learning to read. It's a nice book that's quite logically done over all, but it certainly is not for three or four year olds. I would think it is better suited for your average five or maybe six year old who has already learned most of their key words and is confident with sounding out new phonetic words.
This book is a nother one of the great phonic readers series by Usborne books. Shark in teh Park is written by by Phil Roxbee Cox and illustrated by Stephen Cartwright. Within this series there are 12 books. They each retail at £4.99 or you can purchase all 12 books in 2 bound books that retail at £9.99 each. This specific book is about Pup who goes to the park and thinks he sees a shark. He tells all of the different animals in the park that he has seen a shark and he describes it. All of the animals gather round the lake only to find that it is Jake Snakes rubber ring in teh shape of a shark. Each of these books is based on synthetic phonics - recognition of distinct sounds that go together to make up words. Some sounds are a single letter, others can be combinations of letters e.g. sh, ch, ar. Sounds go together by blending them and making words, e.g. m-ou-se = mouse. This method of reading supports children in learning to read as it can build their confidence at reading new words and enabling them to break the new word down in order to read it. In this story there are a lot of rhyming words, again this helps with learning about reading and building words using the phonics method. The story can be read alongside an adult. For those children who are beginner readers they will need little help as they learn the new phonic sounds and put the technique of sounding out the words into practise, e.g. p-a-ck, bl-a-ck. This book has lively illustrations, they are colourful and represent the story well. Therefore they can also be used for helping a beginner reader to read words, using the pictures and the storyline to make an educated guess. This book is also interactive as there are lift the flap pages incorporated into it. There is also the infamous Usborne duck to be found on each of the double pages within the story. These books are excellent for teaching children to read. They are suitable for a range of ages. The younger child 2 years plus will enjoy the story and naming the characters and an older child, 4 years plus, will begin to develop their own reading skills. These are excellent and versatile books for children to enjoy.