Tag Archives: boardbook

Brady Plays the Fiddle by Melissa Auell


Brady Plays the Fiddle by Melissa Auell, 16 pages, picture e-book, published by Jade River Publishing in 2017.

Brady the Badger is interested in learning to play an instrument. His parents take him to a bluegrass festival where he hears some instruments being played and gets to meet the musicians.

Brady Plays the Fiddle is a sweet and lyrical story which introduces a range of string musical instruments to young children. Each instrument is played by a different animal.

The story is told through rhyme, which is best read aloud. My kids immediately asked me what bluegrass was. If I was reading this to a class, I think it would be useful to have some samples of bluegrass music for the children to listen to. And of course, if possible, the actual instruments from the story. It would make an awesome music lesson to read the book, and then try out a mandolin or a dobro!

The illustrations were very bright and reasonably simple. I think that they would appeal to young children. However, I felt that the illustrations of Brady lacked continuity between the first couple of pages and the rest of the book. This may have just been my perception as he went from being drawn from the front, to being seen side-on. His nose was also a darker shade of pink and his fur a darker grey in the later pages. I know it seems pedantic, but initially I didn’t realise that both badgers were Brady.

My favourite illustration was on the front cover; there Brady is feeling the music and obviously enjoying himself. The background to this page is expertly coloured too. It really was an excellent choice for the cover.

Brady Plays the Fiddle is a nice book most suitable for toddlers, preschoolers and lower primary school children. It is a great way to introduce these instruments to children and would make an useful addition to preschool music programs.


*I received this book as a digital edition from the author in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.



Caillou, No More Diapers by Christine L’Heureux and Pierre Brignaud


caillounomorediaperscoverCaillou, No More Diapers by Christine L’Heureux and illustrated by Pierre Brignaud, picture e-book (board book edition), 24 pages, published by Chouette Publishing – Caillou in 2016.

Caillou has got the hang of the potty, and now he is going to use the big toilet. His dad gets him a special seat and step to make it easier to use. Caillou really wants to go to bed with his diaper, but he’s not quite ready for that.

I remember reading Caillou books as a child and I’m quite fond of him, so it was a joy to introduce him to my own children. I read this to my two toilet training toddlers, and they loved it; I’ve had multiple requests to re-read. Since we are Australian I replaced the word ‘diaper’ with ‘nappy’ whilst reading so that my kids wouldn’t be confused by the new word. We also had a little talk about Caillou using the sink by himself. In the story he gets up on his step and turns the faucets on and off, filling up cubes, and tipping them out. It sounds really cute, but when my boys try to do this, it’s more like someone mashed the soap, shoved it up the faucet, let the water flow, washed the towels in the sink and used the ceiling for boat races. So we talked about how responsible Caillou was being at the sink, making sure not to spill any water!

The pictures are bright and fun, while the text is simple and clear, making it perfect for younger children. The book also comes in a sturdy board book format, which I like (my son is a serial book ripper!) Both books in the Caillou Potty Training Series are a great way to start the conversation about toilet training. I really liked that it wasn’t all successes in the story; Caillou wets the bed on one page, and it’s not a big deal, he just tries again. Learning that everyone experiences misses alongside the hits is important for children of all ages.

Caillou, No More Diapers is the follow up to Caillou, Potty Time, taking learning to use the toilet to the next step. It would make a great gift for a toilet training toddler.


*I obtained this book as a digital copy from Netgalley. I did not receive any other remuneration, and this is an honest review composed entirely of my own opinions.


Caillou, Potty Time by Joceline Sanschagrin and Pierre Brignaud


cailloupottycoverCaillou, Potty Time by Joceline Sanschagrin and illustrated by Pierre Brignaud, picture e-book (board book edition), 24 pages, expected publication by Chouette Publishing – Caillou on July 12 in 2016.

Caillou’s mum has bought him a new potty. He wants to wear underpants and use his potty, but he doesn’t always make it on time.

In a sturdy board book format, this is a lovely book to share with toddlers, especially those that are just starting out on their potty journey. Caillou is a well known character that many kids love; he is quite appealing and familiar to youngsters. I like Caillou too, and I like the bright and clear illustrations in this book. The story is simple and follows Caillou’s efforts to use his potty, along with a couple of misses. It was nice that the misses weren’t a big deal, Caillou was just encouraged to try again next time. I liked the gentle reminders that he would get there. As a parent, I only wish toilet training could happen as quickly as it did for Caillou!

I read Caillou, Potty Time to my two toilet training toddlers, and they loved it. For the rest of the day they told me they were just like Caillou every time they used the potty. They also lamented that their potty didn’t have little fish on it like Caillou’s, despite having one shaped like a turtle!

This is the first book in a set of two featuring Caillou’s toilet training progress. Both board books will be available together as a pack in July.


*I obtained this book as a digital copy from Netgalley. I did not receive any other remuneration, and this is an honest review composed entirely of my own opinions.

Big Fat Cows by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton


bigfatcowscoverBig Fat Cows by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton, board book, published by Pan Macmillan Australia Pty Ltd in 2014.

A hardy board book great for little hands, Big Fat Cows has been a hit with my toddlers (and their sisters, and their dad, and me…). It is funny and silly and reminds me of Where is the Green Sheep?, one of our favourites. The story is ridiculous in the best possible way, and it rhymes, sounding great read aloud. The illustrations are humourous, with plenty to look at and discover without being too overwhelming for the littlies. My kids have enjoyed seeing what each cow is doing, and they very much like the last page! I like the mixed-up cow and the milk carton shaped space ship myself.

Big Fat Cows is most suitable for toddlers and preschoolers, though it really has a much wider appeal. I highly recommend this book to share with your youngsters!

Dino Shapes by Suse MacDonald


IMG_5268Dino Shapes by Suse MacDonald, board book, published by First Little Simon in 2014, previously published as Shape by Shape in 2009.

My toddlers are obsessed with dinosaurs at the moment. As soon as they saw this cute little board book, they wanted it. It has been read over and over and over… They love it. I also like it, it has been helpful in teaching them some shapes.

Each page is a bold colour, the text is easy to read and simple. It starts with two black circles for eyes, and each page uses a new shape in the story, adding detail to the dinosaur. There are cut-outs on the pages for each shape the story uses. These accumulate to provide the final picture. It is quite clever really, though as far as I know, Brachiosaurus didn’t have big pointy triangular teeth!

Inside the front cover there are also different shapes printed in bright colours with the name of the shape beneath each one. I often ask my toddlers to point out certain shapes before we read the story. They like to repeat the names of the shapes after I read them out too.

Dino Shapes comes in a sturdy board book format and is perfect for babies and toddlers.


The First Christmas by Rod Campbell


IMG_2803The First Christmas by Rod Campbell, boardbook, first published as My First Nativity by Macmillan Children’s Books in 2011, this edition published in 2014.

This sturdy boardbook offers a simple introduction to the original Christmas story for toddlers and preschoolers.

The illustrations are simple and appealing for young children, and the language has been simplified somewhat to reflect the intended audience. However, my kids had not encountered a couple of the words, such as ‘lowly’, which I needed to explain. They also had other questions related to the story, so The First Christmas was a good talking point to begin a discussion on the stories surrounding Christmas.

Peppa’s Christmas Wish


IMG_2734Peppa’s Christmas Wish, boardbook, published by Ladybird Books in 2012.

In Peppa’s Christmas Wish, Peppa and George have been to see Santa and told him what they would like as a present. They spend Christmas day with Granny and Grandpa Pig, but when it comes time to open the presents, there doesn’t seem to be one for Peppa. Will she get her Christmas wish?

Peppa Pig is a staple in our house at the moment, the kids love her adventures, and really, I do too! When my preschooler saw a Christmas book featuring Peppa, she just had to have it. Being a sturdy boardbook has meant that my toddler could enjoy the story too, without damaging the book. He has spent quite a lot of time on his own with this book, just looking at the pictures. My preschooler loves the story and the illustrations, but then, she does love anything Peppa related. Peppa’s Christmas Wish is great for sharing with young children in the lead up to Christmas.

Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox and Judy Horacek


IMG_1566Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox and illustrated by Judy Horacek, hardback picture book, published by Penguin Books (Australia) in 2004.

There are blue sheep and star sheep, up sheep and car sheep, but where is the green sheep? Find out as you turn the pages, discovering many different sheep along the way.

A brilliant early childhood book, Where is the Green Sheep? is perfect for every child. We discovered it by chance at the library when my first child was a toddler. We borrowed it so often over the following months we finally went out and bought our own copy. It has been read many many times, to the point where the kids could repeat it verbatim without even opening the book. Despite this, I never tire of reading this book to my kids, it really brings them (and me) so much joy. Where is the Green Sheep? is a wonderful book to share with toddlers and preschoolers, and older children will also enjoy the lyrical text and cute pictures.

It is a fun rhyming search through the flock to find the elusive green sheep. The story and illustrations are simple, yet extremely engaging for young children. The text is large and easy to read. The language is suitable for children just learning to read as well. We like to read Where is the Green Sheep? aloud, building up the rhythm of the text, and the kids always join in for “But where is the green sheep?”. The sheep are very distinctive, and the kids enjoy discovering what type of sheep are on each page, as if they have never read it before.

No children’s library would be really complete without this magnificent picture book from one of Australia’s favourite authors, Mem Fox. Now don’t be a slow sheep, go out and find the green sheep! (from all good book sellers).


* Where is the Green Sheep? was the winner for the 2004 Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year in the Early Childhood category.

Ears, Eyes, Nose by Rebecca Bondor


IMG_1191Ears, Eyes, Nose by Rebecca Bondor, a Rookie Toddler boardbook, published by Children’s Press (Scholastic) in 2014.

This boardbook introduces young children to some of their body parts. It contains clear photographs of children pointing to their own ears, eyes, and other parts. Seeing children just like them can help toddlers and young children to engage in learning new things. And with only one large print word per photo, and a sturdy board construction, this is a great book to start learning body parts with babies and toddlers.

Ten Tiny Toes by Caroline Jayne Church


IMG_1195Ten Tiny Toes by Caroline Jayne Church, boardbook, published by Cartwheel Books in 2014.

A simple and engaging book for toddlers celebrating their bodies. As I read through Ten Tiny Toes with my son (15 months old), I encouraged him to point to each part of his body and do the actions in the book. He liked looking through the book and pointing to the pictures, and especially grabbing his toes when we read ‘and ten tiny toes!’ He did laugh and giggle when we touched his tummy too. The text was large with rhyming language, and the illustrations were simple, yet nice. This story helped us to focus on learning parts of the body in a fun way that many toddlers will enjoy.