The following books are both board books that would make excellent last-minute gifts or stocking stuffers, if you're in need of ideas for a baby, toddler or preschooler.
Spot the Animals is a "lift-the-flap" book in which an animal is hidden behind a beautifully illustrated flap, cut to fit the shape of whatever the animal is hiding behind (leaves, coral, rocks). I couldn't find any decent images online, so I snapped my own. I think it's best just to show you a little from the inside. You should be able to click on each image to enlarge.
There are six animals and colors in Spot the Animals. In the final page spread, there are six stripes -- one of each of the colors of the animals that have hidden -- and each of the colors is labeled. On the right-hand side, the 6 animals are shown and labeled by name. The wonderful thing about Spot the Animals is that it's so simple and short that you could easily read the book to a small baby (I read to mine while they were still in the crib and later would prop them in a seated position and read to them while rocking) but Spot the Animals is also educational, so preschoolers and even early readers can get something out of it.
1-2-3 Dinosaurs Bite is similar in that it's educational and has a special feature, in this case bites chopped out of each page. You actually count the chunks missing from the book. How cool is that? By the time you arrive at 6-7-8-9-10, there's a page that is so bitten there's only about a third left. I'll just show you some interior shots, again.
The last page spread incorporates counting with other learning tools, for example: 2 horns, 3 sharp claws, 6 footprints, 8 letters in the word dinosaur. The final words are "Guard all 10 of your fingers -- these DINOSAURS BITE!"
Both books are highly recommended. Perfect illustrations that are colorful, balanced and interesting with a unique twist (bites cut from the pages; die-cut shapes the animals are hidden behind) and plenty of educational material crammed into a few short pages make can't-miss fun for children and will satisfy a parent's urge to teach. I absolutely love these books. Since they're board books, they're also quite sturdy, even with folding pages and chunks missing.
On a side note, because I had trouble finding any images of these books and had to take my own, I got to see a large number of other illustrations by Steve Jenkins. It looks like he's the kind of artist I would seek out if I still had small children. I don't, but I'm hoping there are grandchildren in my future. I'm hanging onto these two board books, just in case.
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