Sunday, June 15, 2008

Review: Begin Smart Books

Dear Parents,

For a child, eating is a major activity, and everything involving food is an event. The process of eating a meal is a crucial part of a child's early years. Each page of ALL GONE! shows a familiar food, and when the page is turned, the food disappears. All gone!

Disappearing and reappearing objects fascinate babies and toddlers, and turning the pages of ALL GONE! during mealtime, or while waiting to be served at a restaurant, is sure to have a positive result. -- Begin Smart All Gone Book

I received the cutest package in the mail filled with lots of goodies from Begin Smart. Begin Smart is a "developmental publishing program designed to encourage the physical, social, emotional, and intellectual growth of babies and toddlers." They have adorable books divided into categories by age: newborn to six months, six to twelve months, twelve to eighteen months, and eighteen months to two years. The very helpful Steve from Book Smart sent me a book from each age level, a promotional DVD, and a cute tote bag!

While my youngest child is almost four years old and too old for these books, I still can appreciate them as a mother. These books are precious and I have no doubt that both of my children would have loved them. (If I'm being honest, my three and a half year old was showing some interest in them especially the one with the button that makes noise!)

NIGHT-NIGHT, BABY is a cloth book geared for newborns to three month old children. The book is filled with different animals partially covered in a blanket. Any baby will love turning the blankets (which are very soft with satiny edges) and finding animals!

The book for six to twelve month olds is called MEOW -- this is the one that my son was interested in. This book is a sturdy board book with a button on top that makes a "meow" sound when you push it. I thought this book was very cute! The book shows different types of cats on each page, except for a little surprise picture near the end. The last page actually shows a furry cat and has a little circle with some fur for the child to feel.

ALL GONE is the book geared for twelve to eighteen month olds, and it's the one featured at the top of this post. This book is very chunky with foam filled pages -- very easy for little ones to turn themselves. The first and last page of the books are written for parents. I especially liked the last page where it gives the parents some further ideas on how to read this book to their child.

The last book I received was ONE-TWO, and it is for eighteen month to two year olds. This book is very similar to shape and size of ALL GONE. The book is filled with lots of colorful pictures which show the difference between the numbers one and two. I think it would be a great way to get your child to start counting!

The initial set of Begin Smart books launches in June. Every book in this series offers these helpful features:

Color Coding – Books are clearly color-coded by age.

Developmental Skills – Every book includes a list of skills which are aided by that book.

Parent Notes – The parent notes expand on the list of developmental skills and suggest several ways to read the book.

Promotional DVD – A 12-minute video shows the books being used by moms, dads, and grandparents and offers tips about how to read to babies of different ages.

Website – On the Begin Smart website, parents can find advice from child development experts, tips for creative ways to read the books, and an overview of the entire program.

I wish these books had been around when my kids were little, because they are perfect for little ones (at least I'm still getting some new nieces and nephews.) These books would make wonderful gifts for the babies or moms-to-be in your lives; and I know they will just love them.

Make sure you check out their website because it's extremely informative. There is a ton of wonderful information not only about their books, but also about reading to your child at various ages.

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