I have many happy memories of reading as a kid. Be it going to the library with my mum to pick out what books we wanted to read together that week or getting lost in a book as a youngster whilst at school. It is a similar story for the missus too when she was growing up.
As such, we’ve been very keen to read with Baby L from an early age in order to help her development and create a love for books. That’s obviously pretty hard when the little one is barely six weeks old, but start as you mean to go on is our mentality. As Baby L has begun to open her eyes more often and focus more intently than she did in the early days, it has given us the ideal opportunity to start interacting and reading to her.
With this in mind, we were delighted to trial and review a three-month subscription with Routes to Reading’s Baby Book Club. Part of Education Umbrella, a leading learning resource retailer for schools, Baby Book Club is a subscription service which delivers expertly-picked books to your door each month which are tailored for the age of your little one.
You enter details of your child’s age and name (up to 36 months old), then choose a membership type ranging from one month to twelve months – the longer the subscription, the more money you save. In addition to the two books per month which have been picked by a panel of experts who review the latest publications, you are sent reading tips by email, which again are tailored for each month of your child’s development.
For the first month of our subscription, Baby L was sent two books; Snuggle and The Usborne Little Book of Nursery Rhymes.
Book 1: Snuggle by Little Learners
“It’s time for all the animals to go to sleep! There are lots of cosy cuddles as they snuggle together in this soft, huggable bedtime book…Night night!”
I’ll admit, the plot isn’t the most complex or riveting, but then again I’m probably not the intended target audience! Instead, Snuggle is a soft and cuddly cloth book which features simple rhyming text and illustrations of cute animals cuddling together.
The outside of the book is of a fleece-like material which is soft to the touch, whilst the inside pages feel more silky to the touch with padded insides. This makes it nice for both parent and baby to touch and hold during reading. I also imagine it will make a nice chew toy when Baby L starts teething which makes it different to a lot of other books out there. As you can see from the photo at the top of this post, the book also doubles nicely as a pillow!
The book features nicely drawn illustrations of cats, dogs and rabbits to name a few, which are interesting to look at and designed with different pastel colours and patterns. Although this is nice, it would have been good to have seen a few brighter colours and different textures to keep the baby’s attention a little longer.
Snuggle comes in a nice presentation box, meaning that it would make a nice gift, whilst the book can also be washed by hand in case it picks up any of the many gruesome stains associated with babies.
At six pages long, it is hardly of War and Peace proportions, and at a cost of £6.99, it feels on the pricey side for a book that can be read within 30 seconds. Despite this, it is a nice little book to read with your sprog and gives them the ability to develop a range of senses such as touch, sound and sight.
Book 2: The Usborne Little Book of Nursery Rhymes
“This lively illustrated collection brings together over fifty of the best-loved nursery rhymes, together with some idea for actions and games.”
Having had no experience of nursery rhymes for the past 20 years, I was secretly pleased to receive a book packed with those rhyming tales. Not only does it give me a window to the past, but it allows me to swot up prior to us going to any baby classes. How cool will I be and how envious will the other parents be when I can recite all the verses to Little Bo-Peep without the use of any visual aids?! Very, is the answer you’re looking for.
Anyway, the Usborne’s book has over 50 nursery rhymes within the padded cover, featuring classics such as Humpty Dumpty, Jack and Jill and Baa, Baa, Black Sheep as well as some which I’ve never heard of such as I had a Little Nut Tree and Lavender’s Blue. It also features my new favourite nursery rhyme of all time which has the double entendre title called “I Love Little Pussy” – I’ll let you come up with the jokes yourself.
All of the nursery rhymes throughout the book have colourful illustrations which depict the rhyme in question and provide something a bit more interesting to look at rather than just text. At the back of the book, there are also a couple of pages with details of games and actions to complement and enhance the rhymes, such as marching on the spot for The Grand Old Duke of York.
The book is 64 pages in length and is relatively small in size which will make it perfect for taking with us on trips. At £5.99, it is also a pretty reasonable price for the only nursery rhyme book you’re ever likely to need. Kids love nursery rhymes and I expect that Baby L will too as she grows.
In addition to the two books, I received an email with reading tips prior to the books arriving. This email included photos and a brief description of the two books that were being sent – I really liked this as it gave us something to look forward to rather than the unknown. The email also included a few bullet points on beginning our baby’s learning journey which were useful and added a nicely tailored part to the Baby Book Club membership.
In summary, I’ve been very happy with the first month of our Baby Book Club membership. It is nice receiving something in the post which is tailored to the little one rather than just going to the shop or library to find a book. This is particularly true as the books are chosen by experts and families who can select the books based on the development needs of your baby. The two books we received will definitely get a lot of use, as they have already, the more that Baby L grows and develops.
N.B. This review was written by me (Dave) and represents my honest opinion of the product. The books were sent to me by Routes to Reading as part of the Baby Book Club with the purpose of writing a product review in exchange for the product.