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My children have had different ways of grasping onto the whole idea of story telling and reading books. My son when he was younger just wasn't interested in hearing stories and took him awhile to get into it and enjoy it. Thankfully he loves reading and hearing stories now and finds books fascinating. His sister, possibly because shes been so used to her brother and I reading and looking at stories together, loves books and you always find her in a corner with a book pretending to read and telling her story aloud. One of the things that's apparent since my son was born is how important books are for children, even at a young age, and how organisations such as Sure Start, and local libraries are trying to encourage more and more children to get into books. This particular book was free when I visited my local library. On the back it mentions the rrp is £5.99. The book before you open it...... This book is paperback. 9.5 inches wide, 9 inches in length. Contains 32 pages. The picture on the front cover shows a bear walking through the snow on what appears to be a winter setting. Title of the book just above the bear. The picture and the colours are strong but not bright and bold. Eye catching and slightly classic in look and style, rather than wacky and too child like. Book is quite thin, so gives you a good indication this isn't a long read. The story It starts off pulling you into a winters morning, on Plum Street. A young bear named Sam and his Mummy are busy in the warmth of their home baking cakes for all of their friends. They wait ( not very patiently for Sam though! ) for the cakes to be cooked, prepare them to be taken to all of their friends. Mummy and Sam then make the journey to deliver these cakes to their friends in the deep and crisp snow. But rather than Mummy Bear giving them out to their friends, she gives Sam an important task of handing them out himself. Whats the layout like in regards to story? Good sized lettering on each page. Easy for young children to follow with their eyes and their fingers. The words dont detract from the pictures, as the pictures partly tell the story as well. Language is simple and subtle. Quite abit of repetition with certain words and phrases in this book, such as the street name. No rhyming here, but the words really do paint a lovely sweet setting of a mother and her son performing such a simple task such as baking, from making and stirring the mixture, to putting them in the oven and Sam being impatient and waiting for them to be cooked. This isn't a hard story to understand and follow, and it flows beautifully from beginning to end. Mummy Bear allowing Sam to delivery these baked goodies himself shows the trust Mummy has in her son, and is happy to allow him the independence to complete his task, that he relishes and enjoys. All of which is done in a lovely snow filled setting early on a winters morning. Pictures I love pictures like these. Drawn beautifully. Even without the words on each page, you can quite easily guess whats going on, which is how it should be. Lovely natural colours and lines, very easy and enjoyable to look at and the artwork itself I can say will never date. All of the pictures in this book stand out, and the words are placed in such a way that it frames the pictures rather than obstructs, which I find important when Im reading this to the children and Im following the words with my finger for my son so he can hopefully identify the look and the sound of the words together. So what do we think? Simple and elegant story. We've had this for around 2 years now, and its not dating at all. Both my children enjoy this book, and I can still see them enjoying it for maybe the next 2 years minimum for my son, and the next 3 for my daughter. It's the perfect length as it catches their imagination but doesn't bore them by being too long. And what happens in the story, in regards to the relationship between Sam and his Mummy, and the tasks that they are performing, working together, baking and sharing, is something my son can identify with. This is an all year story that can be read anytime, but is even more special read in the comfort of a nice warm and toasty bedroom in the thick of the winter months.... This book catches the imagination of both my children, despite being two different ages and are at different developmental stages. Its also a book Im not bored of, which is always a plus point. Only negative is my son when he was younger ripped out a page, but that's kids for you! And not the fault of the book. Would I buy this? Yes I would. Simple but lovely story, eye pleasing illustrations and a story that wont date for my children for awhile. Great free item.