kids book review: tails by matthew van fleet

the happy baby is at the point in his life when he wants to interact with his books.  if they just have boring, flat pages he can sometimes be entertained by turning the pages himself, but often he just gets impatient with those books (especially if he’s trying to delay bedtime).  one book we recently added to our collection has been able to hold his attention for an amazing amount of time (i’m pretty sure i get tired of it before he does every night) so i thought i’d tell you about it in case you have any 10 month olds in your life who need a new book.

the first thing you’ll notice about this book is the touch-and-feel factor.  there are way more textures in here than i’ve ever seen in one of these books before and they’re all pretty fun to touch (especially the big black poof of a tail that you see on the cover which also shows up again within the pages of the book).  i even missed the “spiny” tail texture until about the 5th time through the book (i thought the spines were all just drawn until the happy baby brushed his hand over the page and i heard an odd thwupping noise.  this book also has some flaps, but none of those silly glued-on flaps or flimsy flaps here.  each flap is really just the page itself, folded over, which makes it much more difficult to rip accidentally.  there’s even a few pull tabs that are also much thicker and sturdier than your average tab.  one of the spreads has a pig’s tail that you can swish back and forth with a tab and it’s sturdy enough that i can play a game with the happy baby where he tries to catch the tail and i keep swishing it out of reach (although he does eventually catch it) but i’m not too worried about him breaking it.  there’s also a scratch-n-sniff spot on the page of the skunk.  i’ll just say sniff at your own risk.  i haven’t introduced that part of the book to my little dude yet.  when he gets older, there’s also a seek-and-find counting element to this book and there are some great non-standard animals to learn (pangolin!  bush baby!  tamarin!).  i’m not quite yet ready to let him read this one unsupervised, but i think it might even survive that sort of use for awhile.  the text is short (good for this age’s attention span) and some of the illustrations have pretty funny expressions on the animals.  after a quick perusal of his other titles on amazon i have a hunch that this one will be our favorite, but i think i might have to see if others are in the library… just to see.

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