Learning & Development: First books

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Colours, Yes No, Faces, Shapes, Numbers, Wheels

By Jan Pienkowski

Walker Books, hardback, £4.99 each

First published more than 30 years ago, this timeless set of books has been reissued by Walker Books in a chunky, square format. Gloriously bright and deceptively simple, the books introduce children to concepts in ways that are interesting, humorous and often challenging.

Little Croc

By Emma Dodd

Campbell Books, board book, £5.99

Little Croc is worried about how small he is, and eating bananas like gorilla and grapes like lion and pineapples like elephant has no effect. Looks like Big Croc is right; he's just going to have to wait until the time is right for him to grow. Pull the ribbon at the end of the story to see if that time is now!

Flaps and tabs and pull-out pieces and pop-up characters are often just devices to jazz up otherwise boring books. Not so here. The ever-expanding croc at the end provides a perfect ending and creates a picture that young children will love.

Together!, Taking it Easy!, Having Fun!, Making Friends

By Jess Stockham

Child's Play, board book, £4.99

Following on from the success of its Just Like Me series comes the Just Like Us set of books. Simply fold out the flap to discover who is behaving like the animals in the pictures. The repeat phrase changes in each book, so 'Polar bears cuddle closely - just like us!' and 'Elephants wash each other - so can we!' As with the first series, this set has lots of strong, bright colours, cute characters and simple, hard-to-beat repeat phrases.

Amazing, fuzzy, furry Wild Baby Animals; Soft, fluffy, playful Puppies

Dorling Kindersley, board books, £5.99 each

Stroke the cuddly puppies, pat the zebra foal and tickle the tiger cub in these touch-and-feel books. Pictures of mother animals and their young, rhyming text and pull-out play pieces combine to create eye-catching books that very young children will enjoy.

Rainbow colours peekaboo!; Eyes, nose, toes peekaboo!

Dorling Kindersley, board books, £4.99 each

Where is the baby dressed in red/yellow/blue? Lift the flaps to find out. This little boardbook comes with brilliant colours, a nice selection of textures and soothing, repetitive text. In the second book, children aer invited to find teddy's nose, dolly's eyes and dinosaur's toes.

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