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We received this book free in my son's Bookstart pack and it may just be the best freebie ever! He was immediately drawn to the bright colours and illustrations by Nick Sharratt which are so familiar as to be comforting to kids today!
The idea is that each page is covered in illustrations of different landscapes, clothes, jobs or food with a question at the top asking the child to choose what they would like and a boy, girl and cat guide who make their choices too to help the reader.
The book lends itself to teaching new vocabulary to children, talking about the different places in the world and which food you like best and why! The possibilities are endless, as is my son's appetite to hear this book over and over again!
It's brilliant because it does give the child the chance to make their own decisions within a safe framework and just seems to show the child all the different, wonderful things there are in the world!
My son would like to live in the desert in a country cottage which contains table football, a space hopper and a Welsh dresser while he eats cake, chocolates and a little bit of salad before putting on his space pyjamas and getting into his four poster bed!
It can get a little wearing having to read it every night but there is lots to look at and the kids just love it!
I stumbled upon this book whilst shopping on Amazon; it popped up on the 'recommended for you' section, so after having a quick look and reading the reviews I decided to buy it for my 2 children, aiming it really at my 4 year old, although my 6 year has taken a great deal from it, and they both seem to love it in equal amounts.
The concept of the book is very simple and as the title says 'You Choose', the children get to choose something on each page. Written by Pippa Goodhart and illustrated by Nick Sharratt, it's not a typical children's story book, because the book is not providing set rules, it is up to the children to choose the outcome. Basically you have 12 double page spreads which are filled with lots and lots of pictures, and each has a different theme. First of all the child is asked 'If you could go anywhere, where would you go?' And the page is filled with a landscape scene that includes desert, forest, sea, land, cities, farms, mountains, planets...anywhere you can think of. And your child can choose anywhere they would like to go. My kids change this one each time, sometimes they want to go to the desert, or to see the volcano, and often they'll go in a rocket to the moon.
Each subsequent double page spread is based on the same idea, but the questions (and pictures obviously) are different. You are asked who you would like for family and friends, what kind of home would you live in, what would you put in your home, how would you travel, what would you eat, what would you wear, what pet would you have, what job would you do, what would you do for fun, and finally where would you sleep.
They are all questions based on real life scenarios and there are a huge variety of things for the children to choose from. It is perhaps interesting for the child to actually get a say in some of these things, when they maybe wouldn't get the choice in real life - what to wear for instance - judging by the choices my 4 year old makes in this book, she'd be wearing a polka dot dress, stripy tights, fluffy slippers, topped off with a frilly hat to school in the morning!
***What the Kids Thought***
As I said earlier my children are aged 4 & 6, and they both really enjoy looking at this book. My 6 year old can read so she quite happily sits on her own and looks at this, and the nice thing is that once you have read it, you can go back to the beginning and read it again and have a completely different experience. I read this with my 6 year old daughter last night, and she is the sensible one in our family so her choices are very similar to what she would expect to happen in real life. She chooses to live in a normal house, travel in a normal car, wears trousers and a top, has a dog or a cat for a pet, and sleeps in a standard looking bed. When I read it with her, I try to make her choices a bit more extravagant, by suggesting that Santa could be her Daddy, or that she could travel in a space ship, and although she does change her mind sometimes, she does tend to stick with the same sort of theme.
My 4 year old changes her mind as often as she changes her socks (which is more than once a day) so she has found an awful lot of enjoyment in this book. She's a child who bores very easily and can't sit still for long periods of time, but give her this book (and my knee) and she will read it over and over again. She loves to study all the pictures, and some of the pages are so detailed that she can spend ages just looking at all the different things, and I think we still haven't spotted everything, we keep finding new things, we only noticed the other day that on the clothes page there are even bracelets, earrings and necklaces to choose as well! There are so many things to look at, and I think this is what my 4 year old loves; each time she looks at the book she sees something new, and so for her the story changes each time. Although she always chooses the same bed and that is the pink four poster frilly princess bed (I think she's trying to tell me something).
What is really interesting is the 'what would you do for a job' page because this is something we have never really discussed with our children before, so it's quite intriguing to see what they would choose. My eldest always says vet and my youngest changes her mind each time. But I found this quite educational for them, because they have no idea what going out to 'work' meant, they knew that their Daddy fixes cars, but that's as far as their knowledge stretched, so now they know about lots of other jobs that people do every day.
We really love this book, the children love it because they get to choose things, and I suppose allows them to interact more with you as a parent and provides many talking points. The illustrations as always are very bright and eye catching and also sometimes humorous which is always a bonus in a kid's book. We've only had it a few weeks, but it's definitely my youngest daughter's favourite book so far, she would rather read this over any of her others.
I would highly recommend this book for children of all ages; even if they don't understand the concept they will love the pictures.
This book is based on a really simple idea but it works so well. Every page has so many pictures for the child to look at and discuss and choose. I read it with my 2 and 3 year old boys and it was great for both of them. My 3 year old is very talkative so it lead to a lot of discussion with him, he really enjoyed choosing all the things he likes and asking questions about different things on each page, it kept him busy for quite a while and I enjoyed looking at it with him as it provoked some different topics of conversation than what we might have ordinarily come up with, without the book.
My second son (2 years old) has delayed speech as is pretty much non verbal but I found this book quite good to help initiate some limited conversation by asking questions, then he can point, then I respond to that etc. As he can't really speak at all, a book like this which helps me to have a two way interaction with him, and learn what he may be thinking, is something I really appreciate. For example there are pages of different people to chose who you would like to be your friend, different houses, different foods, and so many more. He absolutely loves vehicles and transport (like many boys of this age) so was very interested in the vehicles page but both of them were quite entranced in all of the pages even on topics that don't normally interest them so much such as clothes. My 3 year old found it hilarious that the character on the corner of the clothes page seems to be running off naked so he wanted to chose different outfits for him, as he needs to get dressed.
Both of them really enjoyed it and I was really impressed with it myself. We got it as a part of a Bookstart pack from the library, but if I had seen this in a shop I would happily have bought it. After we first got it, I was really impressed so I straight away went to see if there was anything else similar on Amazon, to get something more like this but unfortunately I could not really find anything else so it seems that this is quite a unique book. I would definitely recommend it.
(I have reviewed this on Amazon on the name M. Marikar but edited my review here to add more)
You Choose was given to my younger sister as part of a reading scheme by the company Bookstart from her school, but I think when you buy it, it is around £3 right now. Although this book is said to be suitable for those aged 3 plus, I would say it would be good for anyone above that age as my sister still read it up to the age of 7.
The book is written by Pippa Goodhart who has written a variety of children's books, and not only does she write them for younger children but she also writes some for older children. Nick Sharatt is the illustrator of the book, and they are as colourful and brilliant as his other pieces of work. From a child's point of view, I can really see why they'd be interesting and they do bring the drawings to life from the way he depicts things. Both have a good knowledge of what a good children's book entails, which is probably why their book was chosen to be given to kids to inspire them to read.
The book is much larger than ordinary books, and is probably what draws kids to it in the first play. You Choose are written in giant letters across the front of the page, and all across the front and back covers is a huge amount of small illustrations showing the wide range of things included within this book. As there is not just one theme to the front cover of the book, this really highlights what is actually contained within the book as it matches the categories included inside. The book clearly shows it's reviews it has received that only speak greatly of it, and this is certainly true as what's included really is great.
Some may ask, what is the story behind You Choose, but in fact, there is none! You create the story yourself, by choosing for yourself the different things. There are 28 pages of colourful illustrations, each encouraging kids to make up a story for themselves using the items. Each page is covered with random little items that a child can use to pick and create their own stories, there is hardly any free space on the page as they are so covered with pictures. Not only that but there are two pages, at both the front and back which are designed to help kids to create their own stories by giving examples of things they can choose and how to create their own story.
All of the categories are shown on double page spreads covered with illustrations. Below are the categories that are included within the book and a selection of some of the items you can expect to find on the pages:
If You Could Go Anywhere, Where Would You Go?
Jungles, space, beaches, hotels, deserts and volcanoes - great for picking out a child's ideal holiday destination
Who Would You Like For Family and Friends?
Here you can pick a wide variety of people from pirates, 1920s mobsters, wolves, knights and Cleopatra. It's fun for a child to pick out the people they think would best represent the members of their family.
What Kind Of Home Would You Choose?
You can choose from a wide range of homes here, from spaceships, castles, windmills to teepees. This is great for introducing a bit of history to kids, as when my sister talked about teepees, we were able to look into places where they would have used them. So, this page can potentially be a great place to start their interest in different cultures and history.
And What Would You Put In It?
This is one of the pages with the most illustrations included on here, as there must be over a 100 items included on the pages. You can choose from such a wide amount of things from statues, furniture, fountains and pianos - this is definitely one of the most detailed and best categories within the book.
Would You Travel With Wings or Wheels? Or Perhaps Choose One Of These Other Things?
This page is great for introducing kids to the different methods of transport as perhaps every method you can think of is included on this from airplanes, boats, horses and camels. Modern techniques are mixed in with old time ways of getting around, so it makes for great conversations about history.
When You Got Hungry, What Would You Eat?
This includes a giant table full of loads of different foods, so if your kids are quite fussy, this page could be great at getting them to pick a meal they might want to try.
What Would You Wear? Choose Some Shoes..and Perhaps a Hat?
These pages have a wide selection of clothes and accessories, so you can choose from loads of different things to make the wildest outfit imaginable.
Why Not Get Yourself A Pet..Or Two..Or Three?
Here, the restrictions of everyday animals no longer apply, as you can choose a dragon or a unicorn as your pet! My sister is really into animals, so naturally she decided she would have all of the pets not just one, but hey this is You Choose, you can do whatever you want.
Is There A Job You'd Like To Do?
This was great for children to think about what job they'd like to have and shows that gender isn't important when picking jobs which was a nice change from the norm e.g. a woman was shown to be a plumber
What Would You Do For Fun?
Here, there is such a wide amount of things to do and it ranges from rollercoasters to painting. There is an activity that every child will enjoy, and might influence them to try something new.
And When You Felt Tired..Where Would You Choose For A Snooze?
A great way to end the book, by picking your perfect bed! You can choose from a princess styled double bed to even a kennel.
I would say it is great value for money when buying it, as my sister spent hours using this book to create a story. There is such a wide variety of things to do with this book such as picking an item and letting the child find the item you pointed out, encouraging them to make their own stories and having memory contests where you will look at the page for a minute and then write down all the items you can remember.
Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone up to the age of 8 as you get great value for money. It is relatively cheap for a book with so much to do, and the two great children's authors have made a great children's books that has only received positive reviews. It really encourages creativity and imagination, which is great from straying away from the norm of normal children's books.
The idea behind 'You Choose' is very simple: on each page, the book asks a question and then provides a double page illustration of all the things you could possibly choose. The child then picks out all his or her favourites. It's an opportunity to talk about the pictures and ideas as you read with your child.
The title page introduces you to the three unnamed characters who will accompany you through the book, a boy, a girl and a ginger cat.
Into the book proper, the first question is "If you could go anywhere, where would you go?" and our characters fly across a patch-work landscape in a hot air balloon. Your child can pick out features such as the beach, city, a volcano, mountains and deserts amongst others.
Next an array of portraits meets your eye as you are asked who you'd choose for family and friends. You can pick from a pirate, witch, viking, clown or more 'normal' people. Throughout the book, you can spot the trio, offering their favourites in speech bubbles. The questions ask what sort of home you would have, how you'd like to travel, favourite foods, pets, clothes and jobs. Up until the finale of what sort of bed you would choose, where the book bids you goodnight.
There's plenty to look for and talk about with your child as you read through this book, and there are laughs and the imagination to spark - by imagining owning a dragon or your best friend being a vampire.
The illustrations are colourful, cute and remind me somewhat of the cartoon sequences in children's tv show Tracy Beaker. (On further research, this is because it *is* the same illustrator! D'oh. Both are illustrated by Nick Sharratt). I like that gender stereotyping is avoided in the 'ideal job' pages, by having both men and women represented in some jobs, such as police and pilot, while a woman is shown as a plumber and a man as a fashion designer. There's also a range of ethnicities represented.
The book is much-loved by my son, who will pick it to read through regularly.
I have to say, my heart sinks when he does as although he loves it, it drives me nuts as a bed-time story. There's so much to look at and talk about, it takes ages to do it justice. Although the way it signs off with the choice of beds and a goodnight suggests it's intended as a night-time read, I think it's better as a daytime book when you have a spare half-hour!
I have to admit, I am also just bored with it now - but the Boy never seems to tire of it. We've had it several years, and he still enjoys it as much now he is six as he did when he was two or three. It's been a great success with the Boy and outside my head, no-one hears me scream... Hopefully the end is nigh and he'll out-grow it soon!
You can buy it through Amazon for £4.09 currently. I'd recommend it for children from toddler to primary school age: it's wonderful for getting and keeping the child's attention.
Product details (as available from Amazon):
* Paperback: 32 pages
* Publisher: Corgi Childrens; New edition edition (1 July 2004)
* Language English
* ISBN-10: 0552547085
* ISBN-13: 978-0552547086
* Product Dimensions: 29.4 x 25.6 x 0.8 cm
When my ten year-old was having a huge bedroom clearout this week, this was the book she agonised most about throwing out.
On the title page two children and their cat say, "imagine you could have anything you wanted."
"What sort of things do you mean?"
"Just turn the pages of this book, have a look and choose."
Every page is then packed with Nick Sharratt's distinctive cheery illustrations, laid out like a catalogue so you can pick the kind of land you'd live in (a city, mountains, the seaside etc), your friends and family (friendly children, a pirate, Father Christmas), your house, your clothes, your furniture and transport and so on.
There's hundreds of pictures so every time you go back to the book you spot something new, and of course choosing something different on the first page can set off a chain of wildly different choices to the time before, so it never feels stale.
There's hardly any text so the book is suitable for the very young but it's not babyish so older children love it too. While my daughter spent hours happily reading it alone, it's also a great book for looking at together - she regularly took it outside to read with her friends and it sparked off some great conversations about how they all might live some day and what clothes they loved or what bed they'd like.
This is a wonderful book that gives hours of enjoyment and is suitable even for really reluctant readers.
You choose came into our home after my youngest daughter was given it as part of the scheme from the bookstart charity which is a fabulous scheme that gives a selection of books to all three year olds and you choose was chosen to be the big picture book.
I have always encouraged my children to read and I have read to them all even when they were in my tummy!. I have always told them that if you love reading you will never be bored and all my children love to read and be read to.
The book is designed for ages three and up, however it is suitable for all and I will explain more about it's wide reach later.
===== Author =====
The book is written by Pippa Goodhart who has written many children's books from picture books , books for very young children and more adventurous books for older children
Pippa also writes a series of books about Winnie The Witch under the pen name Laura Owen.
====== Illustrator =====
I did want to mention the illustrator of this book, Nick Sharratt has illustrated many books, His illustrations are wonderful and colourful and from a child mind and they really bring the pictures and books to life.
Nick has also written many books himself and illustrates for other authors making him a very talented man.
Older children may recognise a few Tracey Beaker Characters as Nick also illustrates some of Jacqueline Wilson's books.
====== The Story =====
There is none.
No really there is no story!, and that is what makes this book so delightful. Your child becomes the author of their own story and makes all the decisions and their imagination drives the story.
====== How The Book Works =====
When you first open the book the first page shows a girl, boy and a cat. they have speech bubbles the girl says "Imagine You Could Have Anything You Wanted" to which the boy replies " What Do You Mean?" and the cat answers " Just Turn The Pages Of This Book, Have A Look And Choose".
Each page in the book covers a different section.
If You Could Go Anywhere Where Would You Go?-
On the first double page your child is greeted with a beautifully vibrant and childlike landscape picture which has everything from snow capped mountains, volcanoes, a city landscape, the moon and planets, a beach, the dessert, forests, waterfalls, the jungle and a funfair.
This is where your child's imagination drives the story as they pit and tell you where they want to go.
Who Would You Like For Family And Friends? -
On this page all the pictures of peoples are in bright and colourful frames of all shapes, sizes and colours,
You child can pick everyone from, Kings and Queens, santa, Dracula, superheroes, aliens, pirates, clowns, and some great historical figures such as Cleopatra and many many more.
What Kind Of Home Would You Choose? -
Again the is every type of dwelling you can imagine and many you would not even imagine such as, Toadstools, caves, hotels, wigwams,Igloos, traveling caravan and tree houses and even an alien spaceship, there is also more obvious things like hotels, farms, castles and normal looking streets.
What Would You Put In It? -
This is one of my favorites pages as you can pick all the things you would like in your home from swimming pools ( I always choose that!), carousels, pianos, famous paintings and more useful items like washing machines, computers, clocks, TV's, lights and drum sets. You can even pick an egyptian mummy! (every home should have one!)
Would You Travel With Wheels Or Wings Or Perhaps Choose One Of These Other Things? -
My Oldest daughter likes this section as it;s beautifully laid out with a river which has every seaworthy vessel such as rowboats, rafts, rubber rings, pedaloes, fishing boats, cruise liners, pirate ships and yachts.
At Th side of the river is a path with camels, horses, race karts, escalators, bikes and scooters and a rather fabulous pink cadillac ( yes I choose that one!)
over the river is a bridge with a double decker bus, cars, motor bikes, tractors, yellow cabs, limos and a rather fine roman chariot.
Above you have airplanes, helicopters, hot air balloons, rockets, hand glider, blimps and a witch on a broom.
When You Got Hungry What Would You Eat? -
Pick all you favorites from jelly and ice scream, bangers and mash, a whole roast hog, fruit , pies, fish burgers and chips. basically every food from every corner of the world and even a witch's cauldron with spiders and worms (My husband tells the children that's what I eat, cheek!)
What Would You Wear? -
This is a fabulous one as it teaches children about how different people dress and different ages as you have everything from Shari's, knights costume, medieval dress, kilts and royal robes and they all sit next to things like, flamenco dress, school clothes, bikinis, pyjamas and a fabulous Sergent pepper style military coat.
Chose Some Shoes And A Hat -
My kids love this one and so do I but then my nickname is Imelda!
Your child can chose everything from Dorothy's ruby slippers, gladiator sandals, ballet shoes and 60s platforms ans many more.
Hats for everyone from a witches hats, carmen miranda's fruits, crowns and sombreros and usually head wear like cowboy hats and jester head wear (No, Is that just me then??)
Why Not Get Yourself A pet Or Two Or Three Or More? -
This is a very big garden which is home to every animal from polar bears, tigers, hippos, zebras, dragons and unicorns down to pigs, dogs and cats, hamsters, snakes and a scary looking tarantula.
Is There A Job You Would Like To Do? -
These pages are all square boxes with every occupation from Pilots, sailors, queens, florists, newsreaders, spaceman, judges and teachers down to more unusual jobs such as deep sea divers, superheroes, archaeologists and a magician.
What Would You Like To Do For Fun? -
This is a great section which gets children's imaginations going and gets them interested in hobbies with things like, rock climbing, bungee jumping, painting, dancing, judo and many more to get your child's interest.
Last Page, When You Got Tired And Felt Like A Snooze, Where Would You Sleep, You Choose? -
This is a lovely page to end on if you are reading it at night, you can choose beds from a chaise lounge, santa's sleigh bed, bunk beds, a box of matches and a shoe! and also four posters and a lovely childs bed which is the bed most children have.
The is also a coffin with Dracula popping out!.
===== Things To Do With The Book ======
The best thing about this book is that it's your child's imagination that drives the story along and it encourages the child to make decisions and gives them a feeling of control.
I read this to my daughters who are aged, 4, 6 and 8 and they can all get involved and sometimes we take turn as to who holds and reads the titles, this is great for having some quality time together and I love to see the differences in the decisions that they make confirming my knowledge that they are all beautifully individual.
The book teaches younger children hand and eye coordination as I often pick something for my youngest to find, I did this when she was a little younger and my friend uses this with her two year old.
It teaches them speech as the learn all the different words for all the items in the pictures, my daughter had a slight speech problem and the book was fantastic for that.
Books like this free a child imagination and allows to have free reign over their choices.
One things we love to do is when my children have picked all their things from the book we then all draw pictures with the items, it makes for a great game as we compare the pictures of a lighthouse in the dessert with a pink space ship parked next to it!.
We also often play games with book where we have to see how many wheels are on the page, how many red things there are, how many animals with four legs. There really is so many ways to use this book and the only limit is your imagination!.
====== In Conclusion ======
This is one of the best children's books we have ever had, there are some many ways to use the book so your child never gets bored as there is always a new way to read it.
All my children love this book and we have spent many happy hours reading, playing and drawing all down to this book.
I think that it is also a great way to start children reading especially if they do not seem keen on reading as this allows them to make the story up and puts them and their imagination in charge.
"You Choose" was one of a selection of books given to my daughter at nursery as part of the Bookstart book trust. It is a Picture Corgi book with words by Pippa Goodhart and pictures by Nick Sharratt.
Although a nice large size book with a bright and interesting front cover (long lines of different objects and characters) I have to admit that after the initial flick through it was put to the bottom of the pile. My daughter is very girly and likes to read about fairies, princesses and mermaids. I did not see any of these on my first inspection nor did I see much of a story going on. However, at three years old my daughter was already a huge book worm and we were completely grateful to Bookstart for the lovely selection of books that we received. We eventually sat down together to read "You Choose". . . . . .
Basically the book is designed for interaction with your child. There is no written story, just questions and pictures to help your child decide how the story will evolve.
The first page says "If you could go anywhere, where would you go?" The pictures here, which spread over a double page give endless ideas, a few of which are; The moon, a desert island, a fairground, a volcano, a forest and a city.
The next page asks "Who would you like for family and friends?" Here we find many characters as portraits hung in a gallery. The choice ranges from ghosts and witches through to Kings, Queens and Father Christmas, it has since been pointed out to me many, many times that this is where we find our Princess and a fairy!
As you turn each page there are eleven more questions, I won't write each one down as that will be the whole book copied, but to give you an idea your child is asked to choose homes, furniture, transport, food, clothes, pets, a job, hobby and bed.
I have lost count of the hours of fun we have shared with this book. We have had it over a year and I have seen my daughter develop in her thoughts and logic when she makes her choices. At first she would predictably always go to the moon, live in a pink palace and be friends with the fairy. Now much thought goes into her choices and I take great delight in how serious she is in telling me that I can't have a dolphin as a pet if I am to live on the sun.
The book has twenty four pages. It would be almost impossible to count but I would hazard a guess that there are around two thousand illustrations. We already have several Nick Sharratt books at home and are familiar with his style which is both colourful and fun.
I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to buy a child a gift. It has equal appeal to boys and girls and could be used from birth to as old as you like - as long as there is imagination you have a story.
To sum up "You Choose" I would say it is the most fun we have had from any of our many books . It can turn a few minutes into pure quality time with a child and it never becomes boring despite the hundreds of times it is read
You Choose" by Pippa Goodhart and Nick Sharratt
Nothing is more precious than a child's imagination. Most parents know that no matter how much money you spend on fancy toys for a toddler, they will get just as much (if not more) enjoyment out of a couple of clothes pegs or an old bucket full of sudsy water. Kids seems to be pre-programmed to make believe, to imagine themselves as grown-ups, teachers, policemen or spacemen; for them imagining an alternative life is a way of life.
This book encourages kids to fantasise about life - and because it's a book, mum and dad can join in too, and perhaps get a little insight into what their kids dream of. It's not a story book - there are very few words within. Each double page spread just asks a simple question like - "What would you wear?", accompanied by a plethora of pictures, cartoon style, of a gazillion different ideas.
Each double page has a theme - I'll walk you through a few.
First we choose somewhere to go. If you could go anywhere, where would you go? The picture covers the whole gamut of earthly possibilities - mountains, valleys, forests, cities, towns, villages, desert, seaside, volcanoes or canyons - and much more. Look up in the sky and there planets to visit, or the moon, the blue sky darkening into the black of outer-space, studded with stars.
Who would you like for family and friends? Two pages of portraits - people of every hue and age, witches, aliens, monarchs, Vikings, or perhaps Father Christmas? There's a picture of a vampire which my three-year old says is "grandpa"; very telling.
What kind of home would you choose? What would you put in it? Would you travel with wheels or wings? What would you eat? Wear? Shoes? A hat? (Yes, there is a whole page of around 42 hats!). Get yourself a pet (tiger? unicorn?). Job? What would you do for fun? And finally, where would you sleep?
At first glance, it might not be obvious how to use this book, since there isn't a story. It actually works well on different levels. For younger kids, it is a fabulous source of vocabulary. You can start out teaching your baby "hat", then move on to 42 different types of hat as they grow older (and more hat-obsessed perhaps!). The pages with animals were a firm favourite with my daughter - she learnt the standard dog, cat, lion, monkey etc quickly, and has moved on to the more challenging toucan, chameleon and stick insect. The page with jobs is a little advanced for my three-year old, but means that the book is one we can return to as she gets older. The page with "fun activities" can be exploited for verbs - there are drawings of kids doing all kinds of interesting activities, from building snowmen to karate. The final pages, festooned with people in various beds, is an excellent way to draw a bedtime story to a close, as you can say n'night to everyone from mermaids to pirates (and of course Father Christmas and the vampire feature here too).
With very young babies, it's enough to point and name - "That's a lion" etc. Next, you can ask "Where's the piano?" and get them to point at the item. Later, you can ask your child "What's that?" and see how many words they can actually say. Even later you can work on ideas like counting "How many cat's are there?" or "What colour is that snake?" and further down the line you could go with "How does Father Christmas feel about going to bed with a vampire?", etc. Its possibilities are limitless, but do need to be parent lead. You could probably use this book all the way up to A level, with "Discuss the social implications of living in an inner city tower block" or "Trace the evolutionary line from the tortoise to the Dalek in 7 moves", etc.
Anyway, joking aside, this book is lots of fun. It's bright and jolly, different every time you read it, big square and slim, and can be as long or as short as you want it to be. Recommended.
This fantastic childrens book was included in the Treasure Chest from Bookstart the free book pack given to pre-schoolers under the Governments new initiative.
It has quickly become a much loved and much read bedtime book and this is because of the easy and imaginative way in which it involves your children in a conversation they really enjoy.
The basis of the book is giving the child hundreds of choices on each page. For instance on the very first page the text at the top asks you If you could go anywhere, where would you go? The pictures then take up the entire double page spread from corner to corner and depict many different places to visit. Each section blends into the next, resembling a kind of map with volcanoes giving way to mountains and then beaches. A large sea with an island in the middle and a built up city panning out to smaller villages and log cabins in the forests. There is so much to take in that quite often things are missed on the first or even second and third read and this gives new avenues of conversation each time the book is read.
As you turn the page you are asked to choose who would be your family and friends, with pictures of a vast array of people, including Father Christmas! As you go through there are many pages of choices from clothes to wear and places to live, down to jobs and hobbies, pets and food. In fact quite often myself and my daughter get so caught up in the fantastic choices we can make through this book that bedtime is often extended to be able to finish every page.
This has to be our favourite non-story book for bedtime, simply because of the quantity of ideas it brings forth for us to talk about. I was very surprised at how much my daughter enjoys making up a fantasy life, following the choices through the book. For instance she always chooses the large pink castle as her home and every choice she makes after this seems to be intertwined with this choice of residence. I love letting her imagination run wild and having unicorns as pets and seeing what job she would like to do.
One of my favourite pages is the food page, where you can choose exactly what you would like to eat. The pictures are excellent and in very large quantity, with a good mixture of healthy and un-healthy foods. My daughter has been learning about healthy food at pre-school and it is rewarding to watch as she chooses to eat healthy things like vegetables and roast chicken, over the cakes and sweets that are also shown.
But the most rewarding thing for me is the conversations we can have together at this peaceful time of day. She is happy to discuss the reasons for choosing various items in the book and I find the discussions are much lengthier and thought out, with the help of the pictures and alternatives, then if we had just been chatting in the car for instance. There are no limits with this book and I believe there is something for everyone within the picture choices of this great book. It is not geared towards girls or boys in particular and both can enjoy the choices they can make in their fantasy lives, although my three year old daughter seems to enjoy it a lot more than my six year old son, however I really do believe it is an excellent tool for helping you communicate with your children at bedtime, or any time of day, as the choices they are presented with are limitless, fun and practical as well as fictitious.
This is a highly recommended childs book that will give you both hours of stimulation, and as the parent, it will not bore you silly after the second read.
Another childrens book review? My daughter may not be two yet but she has an impressive collection of books, although nothing compared to her mothers! We can quite easily spend a couple of hours each day reading books on the sofa (spread out over the course of the day) and as I have to do the reading I like to choose books that appeal to me too. I am a big fan of Nick Sharratt so when this one came up on my Amazon recommendations list, I checked out the reviews before adding it to the basket. It came a few weeks ago and has since become a firm favourite.
Nick Sharratts illustrations will be familiar to anyone who has seen or watched Tracey Beaker as he is responsible for the book covers and the cartoon inserts for the TV series. He has also illustrated several books of fairy tales for the under-five age group with a simplified version of his Beaker style drawings (I have already reviewed one of these books). Pippa Goodhart, the nominal author (as there arent many words in this book) is responsible for a wide range of childrens books, including Ratboy and much of the Oxford Reading Tree. Between them they have a great deal of experience in what children like, part of the reason I bought this book unseen.
A larger than usual book (about 30x25 cms), it has an immensely attractive front cover with the name of the book in large text across the front. On the letters of YOU are the three characters who reappear throughout the book, with whom children can identify and have fun spotting. These three characters (a boy, a girl and a cat) are very friendly and appealing; my daughter and I particularly enjoy spotting the cat who is usually harder to find on the page. In addition to the title and these three characters are four bands of pictures that cross the front page. Each band is made up of a series of small images that you will later come across in the book. Because they are all mixed up, rather than categorised as they are in the body of the book i.e. shoes, jobs, hats, it makes them very appealing and interesting in its own right. Olivia loves looking at this front cover and likes to spot her favourite pictures. Its a lovely start to the book as it is a point of discussion in itself and sets you up nicely for the pictures inside.
The back cover has three bands of pictures, with a brief introduction to the concept of You Choose (which I will cover below). It also has the Approved by Bookstart label (Bookstart are a charity which provide parents with free books to encourage reading) and several shining reviews. The Times Literary Supplement for example, says that it is:
Marvellous for developing speaking and listening
which is most definitely the case.
There is no story in this book, none at all. Except for the one that you create yourself. This 28 page book is designed to stimulate creative thinking and imagination in your toddler and child so the book is laid out in a rather unconventional way. Each double or single page spread is illustrated with pictures of different categories of things and your child is encouraged to choose something to add to their story. The first and last pages are filled with text examples of these stories to demonstrate just some of the thousands of steps you can take. To give an example:
Would you go to the seaside, be friends with a Viking, live in a fairy tale palace with a ping-pong table in it, travel by limousine, eat a box of chocolates, wear a grass skirt with a cowboy hat and fluffy mules, keep a pet elephant, be a hairdresser, go on a bouncy castle and sleep in a kennel?
The different categories are:
***Where would you go?-A double page spread depicting lots of different landscapes amalgamated into one picture. You can talk about what it might be like in a tent in the desert, in a city, by an erupting volcano or even in space!
***Who would be your family and friends?- Two pages in the style of a portrait gallery with familiar and not so familiar characters. Fancy having Cleopatra or a pirate as your mother? How about a witch for a grandmother or a gnome for an uncle! My husband and I encourage Olivia to pick out a character for each of us; so far I have been a superhero and a pirate and my husband has been a 1920s gangster and Frankensteins monster. Always makes for an interesting insight into how your toddler sees you!
***What kind of home would you choose?-As before there are familiar homes and unfamiliar ones such as a haunted house, a space station, a Romany caravan and of course a Swiss Chalet (my daughters favourite, even though we live in a flat!). For many toddlers this is a really good introduction into the ways people have lived in the past, live now and may possibly live in the future. My daughter is particularly interested in the castle so when she is a bit older we will be able to use this initial interest as a jumping off point to future investigations.
***What would you put in it?-A wonderful double page miscellany of the most glorious combinations of items. Every time we look at this we discover something that we hadnt noticed before. From a carousel to a swimming pool, a garden gnome to a cheese grater, an Egyptian sarcophagus to a glitter ball these pages are my favourite pages.
***How would you travel?-These are my daughters favourite two pages. Trains, planes, automobiles, chariots, gondolas, a pink spaceship, she loves them all and loves to assign modes of transport to everybody. The weird, wonderful, fantastic and historical are all jumbled together with the everyday methods of getting around, to provide endless fun and endless points for discussion.
***What would you eat?-A veritable banquet has been laid out on the table. What would you choose? Not for those on a diet!
***What would you wear?-Will your child put you in the big pink dress, or their sibling in the Elvis suit? What about the 1970s brown Y-fronts, the sari and the celtic robe, with a Japanese fan to stop you from getting too hot? Another magical mix, this time of clothing and accessories from different times, cultures and styles. The next two pages are single spreads dealing with more accessories, clothes and shoes, again a disparate and interesting mix.
***How about a pet?- From wild to domesticated animals, there is a pretty representative sample on these pages. In addition there is a very friendly looking dragon, a dinosaur and a unicorn!
***What job would you do?-A pretty wide selection of jobs are on offer and I was pleased to see that some attempt had been made to subvert certain gender sterotypes. The florist is a man, as is the ballet dancer, while the farmer, plumber and scientist are women. A good opportunity to discuss all the people that you might come across in your everyday life and to expand upon those discussions.
***What would you do for fun?- Another wide range of activities covered, although my daughter was quite confused by acting being represented by people wearing happy and sad masks and it took me (the classical scholar!) a few minutes to realise what they were trying to depict.
***Where would you sleep?-Finally after a busy day its time to rest. From a shower of flower petals (fairy) to a coffin (vampire) there is an interesting choice to be made here. My daughter consistently chooses the dog kennel, but I can assure you that she has a perfectly serviceable little bed, in which she is asleep right now!
I bought this blind after reading the reviews for it on the Amazon.co.uk site, which are unreservedly positive and glowing. I now feel the need to add to those glowing reviews as this book is as wonderful as described (and I rarely review books that dont impress me, life is too short). What came out from the reviews is that this is especially useful as a book to appeal to boys, who often are harder to encourage to read (or even sometimes to sit down quietly!). I tried this book out on one of the little boys I look after, who is almost 2 years old. He is usually incredibly boisterous and rarely shows an interest in books. However he was engrossed in this one for hours .well 30 minutes, which felt like hours after a whole morning of brrrrrrm neeeeeenaaaaa and baaaaannnnng. My daughter also enjoys this book and I have already ordered copies for two or three upcoming birthdays. It is such a wonderful jumping off point for imaginative discussions and also for starting to introduce history, different cultures and other concepts such as geography and anthropology.
I love this book too, as does my husband, so the age range should probably be about 12 months, with parental supervision, to 28 years! My parents are visiting in a few weeks so we could maybe bump the upper age range up to 58!
********Price and Availability*******
The RRP is £5.99, but I ordered my copy from Amazon for £4.49. Marketplace copies start at £2.35.
Play.com have it for £4.99
Imagine you could go anywhere, with anyone and do anything. Where would you live? Where would you sleep? Who would be your friends? What games would you play? Go on ...You choose! With the help of Nick Sharratt's wonderfully detailed illustrations, Pippa Goodhart looks at a whole range of scenarios where choosing is made fun!