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The Usborne Farmyard Tales sticker books are not only fantastic story books but also come with added fun of over fifty stickers which are to be placed throughout the book. The books claim to be a storybook, sticker book and puzzle book all in one. Once the stickers are done they are done but the books are lovely to keep after as just lovely illustrated stories. Farmyard Tales comes with a series of different tales to choose from. One of my son's favourites is The Silly Sheepdog. All the Farmyard Tales stories begin with a brief introduction to the family so there is no need to read the stories in any particular order. This story begins with Ted the farm hand bringing back a sheepdog he has just bought to work it on the farm. But it seems the sheepdog isn't very good and causes a bit of trouble being very mischievous. When the sheepdog runs off Ted and the children run after it. They managed to catch up with the dog and it seems the dog isn't as naughty as they first thought. As with all of the tales in the series they end on a happy note. The sticker book version which we have is A4 size which is needed to fit stickers onto the page. The story is fifteen pages long with a small amount of text on each page. There is a pull out double spread of stickers in the middle of the book. The illustrations fill the whole page with the text over the sky or the ground. The text is a nice simple bold style making it also great for young readers. Some parts of the text have been replaced with a simple outlined picture. For example the word pig has been replaced with an outline picture of a couple of pigs. It is these points within the story that your child can find the coloured sticker with the correct word alongside it to stick over it. In this book there are a total of twenty nine stickers to place over where words are missing in the text. There are also a further seven stickers to be placed on parts of the illustrations that are also outlined. And just if that isn't enough fun there are also 'I found the duck' stickers to place on each page when you have found the farmyard Tales yellow duck that is hidden on each page, a bit like Where's Wally game! Both my boys have had a lot of fun out of these sticker books. The Silly Sheepdog is my eldest son's favourite as he loves dogs and finds this one funny. The first couple of times we read the story I managed to get away with just reading the story and not using the stickers. The boys actually found it fun when I read the story out to them and when it came to an outlined picture within the text they could join in by shouting out what the missing word was by the picture. I liked the fact they could get involved in the story. Of course they also loved finding the hidden duck on each page. A little warning though this does slow the story down as you can't move on till they have found it! I also found it can divert their attention away from the story as they are too busy looking for the duck. So a little tip is each time you move onto the next page let them find the duck before you read the text! There did come a point when they just had to use the stickers and as you can imagine this does slow the story down even further. Again we did the stickers then read the text. The stickers are fairly easy to remove from the shiny paper my son did need a bit of help with a few tricky pieces. Once all the stickers have been placed in the correct places the story is complete and can still be used like any other book. The story is simple and is relatively short so I would recommend these books for under five's. My eldest son is now five and has moved away from these simple stories. My youngest who is three and a half still finds them sweet. The book has provided some good simple fun at story time which my boys have really enjoyed. I myself prefer a book without extra diversions but then I could be called a kill joy! This story retails at £3.99 and can be found on many online stores. If you can find the collection of these tales sold together I would highly recommend. I managed to pick up ten of these sticker books for a fantastic price.
We are a big fan of the Usbourne Farmyard Tales in this house, so when I found this one at the bottom of a pile in my favourite bookshop I was pretty pleased with myself. Books and stickers are my 2 year olds favourite things, so something that combines them both is always a winner! ***The Series*** The Usbourne Farmyard Tales are a series of simple stories for young children and first readers. Set in Apple Tree Farm with the farmer Mrs Boot and her two children Poppy and Sam, it introduces children to the farmyard and the animals that live there. Beautifully illustrated in the Usbourne style (anyone who owns one of the First Thousand Words series will know what I mean) these are a lovely set of books to own. Olivia has the box set of all the stories, but you can also get them in one volume and translated into most languages. ***The Story*** Apple Tree Farm has acquired a sheepdog and the children take him around the farm to show him all the other animals. But Patch the silly sheepdog frightens the chickens and the pigs and makes everyone angry with him as he doesnt listen to instructions. When they get to the sheep field they discover that one of the sheep is missing and Patch comes into his own, finding the sheep behind a bush. The sheep is with Patchs former owner who tells them that he only responds to whistles and the mystery of the silly sheepdog is solved! The text telling the story is at the top and bottom of the page, with simple sentences and a large bold font. The very simplest sentences are at the top e.g. Patch has found a boy and the more complex ones at the bottom e.g. The boy pats Patch. I wondered who bought you when my Dad sold his farm, he said. This makes this book ideal for first readers as they can work up to the more difficult sentences. ***The Stickers*** On each one of the 16 pages there are two or three white shapes, corresponding to the stickers that come with the book e.g. a white hedge. The stickers at the back come with the relevant word as well to help with word recognition for younger children i.e. those who are working from the shape of the picture. This would also help older children who might know the word to choose the correct sticker without help and also to anticipate the missing word. In addition to these stickers there is a reward sticker for each page, to be stuck on when the child finds the hidden yellow rubber duck. It is a nice little additional activity to extend the interactive fun with the book. Of course once you have stuck all the stickers on you have a rebus style book to read and enjoy, rather than a completed sticker book which often has no further use. ***Our Impressions*** My two year old quickly got the hang of what she had to do and was capable of identifying and placing the correct sticker with the bare minimum of help i.e. we chatted about the white shape and what it might be and then she chose the correct sticker. I also had to help taking one or two of the stickers off the sheet. The spotting the duck activity was the source of lots of excitement as well, that was the first thing she wanted to do on each page. Now we have finished the book it is a firm favourite as the pictures are clear enough for her to be able to decipher most of the story without having to read the words, which means she can read it to her long suffering dolly! I am just beginning to use it to introduce her to the whole concept of words using the word that accompanies the sticker picture. These sticker books are larger than the usual Farmyard Tales books, meaning they are easier to use as reading books to younger children. There are no complaints that she cant see the pictures or that I cant see the words and the book lies flat easily, meaning that my daughter can lie on her tummy on the floor and look at the pictures herself (without losing her temper when it keeps closing!). It does say on the back that these books are not for children younger than 36 months because of the size of the stickers, but I took this with a pinch of salt. There are no tiny stickers, they are all at least 2cm long and my daughter has been handling stickers smaller than that for a few months. Even if you do have a sticker eating child etc, then surely with adult supervision this wouldnt be a problem, or you wouldnt be looking at sticker books in the first place. These Farmyard Tales have a wide appeal because of the lovely illustrations and stories and I have given out several as birthday and Christmas presents. ***Others in the Sticker Book Series*** The Hungry Donkey The Runaway Tractor Scarecrows Secret The Grumpy Goat Pig Gets Stuck Tractor in Trouble Pig Gets Lost The New Pony Camping Out Market Day The Naughty Sheep There are about 20 Farmyard Tales in the non-sticker book format as well. ***Price*** RRP-£3.99 (not bad for a sticker book, activity book and story book combined!) Amazon Marketplace offers start at £0.49 ***ISBN*** 074606490X