Tag Archives: books

Review: Miles Kelly Read and Play Dinosaur Set

Dinosaurs are still top of the most favourite things in the whole wide world list according to the small boy. He’s 5 and certainly knows his triceratops from his troodons and I’m keen to encourage this interest as much as I can. I may well have a future paleontologist on my hands here! We were sent the Read and Play Dinosaur Set from Miles Kelly to review and put to the paleontological test.

The Read and Play sets are designed for children aged 5+. There are two themed play sets currently available – Princess and Dinosaur. Each box contains a story book, an activity book, board games and a jigsaw puzzle. The dinosaur set also contained some paper 3D dinosaur models you can easily put together to role play a dino scene in the illustrated box.

Read and Play Dinosaur

The box opens like a pizza box and everything can be packed back inside neatly. There are two side flaps which fold out with Ludo and Draught boards printed on with instructions on how to play.

The small boy was first most interested in folding out the box to create the play scene and then together we made up the 3D models of the dinosaurs and he spent quite a long time playing with them like that – there was a lot of roaring going on! We loved the play scene, there was so much going on and lots for us to talk about, from the dinosaurs having a swim to the volcano erupting in the background.

Read and Play Dinosaur

Over the next few days we got the Read and Play Dinosaur box out and did something different with it each time. One day we’d read the story – Rex Gets a Scare, an engaging story about dinosaur friendship and how everyone is frightened of something. I know this will be a regular bedtime story for a while.

On another day we spent some time doing some of the activities in the Dinosaur Puzzle and Colour book. There are lots of dinosaur themed activities, including a how to draw dinosaurs guide and counting games. It’s aimed at children aged 5+ so it’s all age appropriate and engaging.

Read and Play Dinosaur

It’s so well thought out and beautifully illustrated. If I had to find a fault it is that I’d like the dinosaurs and puzzle counters printed on slightly thicker, more robust card. I know that after a few weeks of playing with the dino models that they will start looking tatty and falling apart, which is a shame.

There are so many different aspects to this set that it would be the perfect thing to pack for a holiday or weekend break. It’s priced at £10 (reduced from £14.99) at the moment on the Miles Kelly website, and I think you get such a lot for your money with this Read and Play Dinosaur set. It’s RoarSome!

For more information about the Miles Kelly Read and Play Dinosaur Set visit the Miles Kelly website.

Note: We were sent the Miles Kelly Read and Play Dinosaur Set for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Miles Kelly – Learning All About Space

We recently re-decorated the small boy’s bedroom so it resembled a starry night sky. The idea was to gradually add things to it, rockets and astronauts, planets and such like. The small boy loved it and was really keen to find out more about space, he loved looking up at the night sky at the moon and the stars, so with the help of Miles Kelly Publishing we’ve been learning more about space.

Miles Kelly are an independent children’s book publishers based in Essex, founded in 1996 they have published over 400 titles and their books are available all over the world. 

We were sent two of the Miles Kelly space books – The Sticker Playbook Spaceship and the Convertible Spaceship to read and play with.

miles kelly space

The Sticker Playbook Spaceship is a double sided fold out book which is aimed at toddlers. It includes an illustrated short story about a rocket journey into space, as well as learning activities and 50 reusable vinyl stickers.

The fold out book is double sided, with one side telling the story of the space mission and the other side being for the stickers and activities, such as learning about colours and shapes. The playbook is beautifully illustrated, with depictions of the planets which you can recognise as well as funny aliens and spaceships. It’s a fun book, rooted in facts but with an interesting and enjoyable story too. Also it has stickers, any book with stickers is always a winner.

The Convertible Spaceship is perhaps one of the most awesome things the small boy has ever been given. It is essentially the same story and illustrations as the sticker playbook (above) but instead of the other side being activities, the other side is a space rocket design. Following the easy instructions you can quickly convert it from a book into a space rocket which you can sit in!

miles kelly space

Aimed at children aged 3-6 years, this is a fantastic thing full stop (the full price is currently £17.99, but it’s sometimes on special offer). As you can see from the pictures the boy loved it, in fact he filled his rocket with everything he’d need for the afternoon, drinks, snacks, an ipad and a blanket and he just stayed in there playing, occasionally we’d hear a “blast off” countdown and noise, but I don’t think he could be happier.

The story part of the space rocket is on the inside, so while he was in there he was pointing at the pictures and talking about what he could see, as well as spelling out some of the letters and words. It’s the kind of thing which would make a fantastic present, and I know Miles Kelly have a whole range of these convertible books, including fire engines, pirate ships and trains.

We really loved these gorgeous Miles Kelly space books – the boy learned a thing or two, but more importantly enjoyed playing with them and it gave his imagination a workout, which is always good. We are very impressed and we’d recommend these great books, especially the convertible space rocket – what’s not to love?

miles kelly space

Note: We were sent these Miles Kelly Space books free of charge for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Memories Photo Book for Kids from love2read

Each year we make up photo books for various relatives, they’re a great present, especially in these days of digital photography. It occurred to me that we do wonderful things with the small boy every week; normal family things, like trips to the park, or holidays, or just baking a cake at home on a rainy day. I’m always there clicking away, capturing the moment and he deserves a little photo book too!

Love2Read have a great little photo book, which we think makes a lovely personalised Christmas present for children. We ordered one as a little pre-Christmas gift for the small boy.

It was really easy to set up. There is a huge selection of books to choose from, all different titles and styles, but we went for Memories of 2014. I recommend that before you start you choose 11 pictures which you want in your book, have them in a file ready to upload, then you’re not searching for them.

love2read

All you do is personalise the book by dropping your pictures on each page and writing a caption. Once you’ve done, check it through so it reads well and the pictures are positioned how you want them, then simply order. Each books costs £14.99 but I think that’s good value for the quality of the product.

Our love2read book was delivered very quickly, within a couple of days of ordering. It’s a good quality, soft-back book, the pages are pretty thick, so they won’t tear or crease easily. The book is colourful and the type is the perfect size for emerging readers.

We sat down to read it together. The small boy has recently turned four and we’re mastering our letters and sounds at the moment, so although the only word he could read/recognise was his name, he did point at the individual letters and tell me what they were, a game which we enjoyed enormously.

We read it through a few times, then he “read” it to me, more from memory if truth be known, but he loved to point at the pictures and tell me the story of the day and what we were doing, which was one of the reasons why we ordered the book in the first place.

We’ve read the book every day and he’s taken it into school for “show and tell”, so he’s obviously very pleased with it. It’s a lovely little keepsake of his year, something he can look at alone, or with an adult, something that will help to encourage his love of reading. I’d really recommend it.

Note: We were sent the Love2Read book free of charge for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Review: A Personalised Book for Toddlers from love2read

We’ve always felt it was important to read to and with our boy. When he was nought but a bump we’d regale him with a host of stories in the hope he’d pop out reciting the works of Shakespeare, or at the very least The Gruffalo. That surprisingly enough didn’t happen, but he has always, always loved books and bedtime stories are something we all look forward to.

He’s three now and although he can’t read yet, he is starting to recognise some letters; it’s time we stepped up our bedtime story routine and got him joining in a bit more.

The other night I happened across love2read on Twitter. They create personalised photo books around your child’s family and life. The idea being that if they’re matching words to pictures of things they love and recognise, then that will enhance their love of reading, make it more relevant to them and ultimately more enjoyable.

You select from a pretty wide range of titles including – I love…, All About Me…, When It Snowed… and Where I Live. We plumped for I Love… because Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and we’ve been talking a lot recently about the people and things we love.

The whole process is incredibly easy. Once you’ve chosen which book you want, you need to select and upload your pictures. Generally you’ll need about 10 digital photographs of fairly decent quality. You can drop your pictures in and swap them around on the pages until you are happy. Then enter the text you’d like, for example “I love Daddy”, check you’re happy and then order your book. Easy-peasy.

We ordered our personalised book on Wednesday morning and it was sat in my hot little hand by Friday lunchtime. Delivery time depends on when you order in relation to their print runs, but delivery was fast and it was well packaged.

personalised book

Now my delightful husband has his own printing business, so the first thing I did was hand it to him for his professional opinion. He thought the print quality was good, with the inside pages being of a decent weight (which means good quality paper). He was pretty impressed (and in terms of print he’s the most critical man in the world). His one criticism was that the staples were too small, but that’s something only printers and the overly fastidious would notice, and let’s face facts, that’s not going to massively impact on your enjoyment of the book.

Bedtime rolled around and ta-dah, I revealed his new bedtime story. He wanted to examine every page carefully, delighting in the pictures and describing what was in them. One of the pictures was him on the beach, which sparked a lovely conversation about what we did that day and what he liked about it. We then sat and read the personalised book properly, cover to cover, several times.

The wording is very simple. In the “I love…” book we put things like “I love the playground”, which he does. He instinctively repeated the words after I read them out and I pointed at the individual words as I read along so he’d start to get the idea of reading left to right. It was all good and we read it several times over. He loved it so much he’s taken it to bed with him.

personalised book

We’re impressed. The process was simple and the product of good quality with clear educational value. What I liked about it was it is also a lovely photo book which you can use to record special days, such as birthdays, holidays, Christmas and Valentines.

At just £14.99 a book I think it represents good value for money, given it’s not only an unusual but lovely learning tool, but a photo book of memories. My top tip would be to sort out 10 or so photographs before you sit down and create your book.

I think these are really lovely gifts for toddlers. I like that the range of titles you can choose from is pretty vast so you can personalise books to be read with Grandad or Auntie Lisa or whoever. If there isn’t a title which matches what you want there’s the option to create your own. It’s flexible and honestly it took very little time to create. As I said, sort your pictures out first, that’s always the hard bit.

Would I recommend? Absolutely yes. Will I be buying more, absolutely yes. Does he love it? Oh my goodness yes. Just don’t show it to someone fastidious about staple length.

Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of the personalised book  “I Love…”  for review purposes, but my reviews are always honest, especially regarding staple length.

My Big Truck Book – Review

My boy adores all things vehicle. We can’t go out anywhere without a running commentary on every vehicle we pass. He particularly loves diggers, trucks and all kinds of emergency vehicles.

My big truck book

It was with collective delight when we were sent the “My Big Truck Book” from TickTock books to have a look at. It is a beautiful hardback book with child-friendly thick pages (not board but a thick glossy paper). As soon as I put it in front of him he exclaimed “Oh wow!” And I knew it was an instant hit.

At the grand age of two and a half he was only able to (really, really) appreciate the pictures, it’s not too wordy but the descriptions are probably more suitable for slightly older vehicle obsessed children. He did get a little bit bored when I tried to read to him, preferring instead to greedily flick through the pages to look at the other vehicles.

My only real (tiny) quibble is that some of the emergency vehicles appear to be from other countries, which is fine, but he didn’t immediately recognise the ambulance as an ambulance. Otherwise he instantly identified the diggers and trucks.

It is a lovely book, superb quality and something that he can appreciate on different levels as he grows. I would recommend it to any parents of transportation obsessed toddlers.

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Disclaimer: We were sent this book free of charge, we were under no obligation to review it and we probably would have bought it for him at some stage anyway.