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Goat Goes to Playgroup by Julia Donaldson was ideal for my Nephew. Now 3, he's been going to nursery for the last year so it's a situation he's well aware of and something he really enjoys. My niece on the other hand (now 18 months) doesn't really understand what playgroup is but there are so many activities she can easily relate to from things she likes to do and various groups she goes to so it prepares her for things she's likely to expect from playgroup/nursery.
I was really happy with the quality of the hardback book. It's around A4 landscape size with a dustcover and so brightly coloured with illustrations by Nick Sharratt. The animals are very similar to Peppa Pig's friends so I think it's likely to attract kids who are Peppa fans but the colours are more vivid. The story begins with the animals arriving for playgroup, each of them taking part in an activity such as playing in the sandpit, having lunch, playing outdoors, circle time, then eventually their mum's come to collect them. Goat gets himself into some funny situations and accidents like putting on lots of clothing, spilling his juice and falling off the swing but there's lots of smiles throughout.
There's a lot of attention to detail in the book. At one point Goat wets himself and from that moment on he's seen in a different colour pair of trousers. Some of the characters' clothing is plain while other items are patterned so there's lot to pick up on. There's pictures above the coat hooks so everyone has their own peg similar to what happens at nephew's nursery and there's so many easily identifiable items on each page - even down to the artwork and pictures on the walls. Nephew even pointed out the Chocolate Mousse for Greedy Goose book that Badger is reading in one of the pictures which he also owns. Niece loves to name all the animal characters and will point to our easel when it shows goat knocking it over in the book.
At 28 pages it's a good length for a younger child's book but with very short rhyming sentences relating to each picture such as "Squirrel likes the sand. Goat has joined a band". Reading it can be drawn out by asking questions about each picture - there is one at the end to find Goat's mum when she comes to pick him up but it's really down to the adult to ask questions for the rest of the book. Nephew isn't at the stage yet where he can read it himself but the text is simple and in an easy to read font so he'll be able to pick it up and read it when he's a little older.
Priced at £10.99 (cheaper on Amazon etc) I can understand why it has such a high price point. I do think it's a tad high but I think it's going to be regularly read for a good while yet. When Nephew goes to pick a book it's usually this one and he'll ask to be read it again seconds after finishing it. Being hardback does offer it some protection but the pages could be easily ripped if they're not careful turning the pages. I'd recommend it for a child around 2-3 years whether they're at nursery yet or not - it would be a good introduction for those not there yet but also relatable to those who are already there.