When I was offered Angry Birds books to review, I asked Mighty-Girl, the Angry Birds player, if she was interested. The answer was a resounding yes! We’ve had these for a while now, testing them out ready to report back.
Angry Birds Magnetic Mash-Up!
This magnet book is actually about the piggies. There is however another magnet book, Angry Birds Magnetic Mix-Up!, which is about the birds. This book contains five double page spreads of blank pig faces and lots of magnetic face pieces – I’m sure we’ve probably lost some but I’ve just counted 32 magnets. In theory there’s a story; in practice this is a play book. Destructo-Girl (4) loves magnet books and imaginative play and is quite happy playing with this book. Mighty-Girl (6) has shown very little interest in it, and to be honest I can see her point. This is more for the younger sibling toddler / pre-schooler who wants to play along but can’t quite manage the game yet. Or for any younger child who likes making faces from magnets but isn’t necessarily an Angry Birds fan.
Angry Birds Playground: Ca-Cool Masks
This contains six bird and two pig masks to make. The front pages contain pictures, a short intro about each character, an Angry Birds fact, plus instructions on how to make the 3D mask. The masks are created from push-out pieces on card pages so no cutting required, and the elastic to complete them is included. This is great for dress-up play in itself but would be absolutely brilliant for an Angry Birds themed party. There’s also Paper Craft Fun! and Fun Things to Make and Do which might come in useful for a themed party too – or just for rainy day fun when you want to tear the children away from screens for a bit. I’ve not seen the other books but based on Ca-Cool Masks I’d expect them to be good quality.
You can see all of the Top That! Publishing Angry Birds books on their website. We found the two that we received to be fun, colourful, full of characters from the games, and have great quality pages and magnets.
Disclosure: We were sent copies of Angry Birds Magnetic Mash-Up! and Angry Birds Playground: Ca-Cool Masks by Top That! Publishing for review. No other financial reward was given and the opinions are my own. I was not asked to write this post.
The Froobles: Little Jack Potato and the big surprise (Top That! Publishing, 2011)
Froobles is a brand I was not aware of before receiving this book for review, but consists of 12 fruit and vegetable characters in books, enhanced e-books, apps and free online games.
I received Little Jack Potato several months ago but avoided writing about it because I couldn’t find anything nice to say. On re-reading it this week I can say that the font is excellent for early readers being just like the letters children are taught at school. I really, really love the font.
The gist of the story is that the potato character plays a bunch of dangerous tricks on his friends (unscrewing wheels off roller skates; turning volume of music up too high; tripping up with elastic – all potentially extremely hazardous). The friends then gang up and humiliate him whilst laughing at his discomfort. Then finally, he hasn’t really learnt anything from the events anyhow.
So now Little Jack Potato thinks twice about playing tricks on his friends.
Well… most of the time!
The website states the aim of these stories is to “have fun adventures and learn valuable lessons” but I don’t believe this story meets that aim. MG and DG weren’t that impressed, other than with the stickers. I am reviewing Little Jack Potato in isolation of the rest of the Froobles brand as I’ve not seen any other product.
The aim of the series is good, and I like the idea that the scenes are based on children’s pictures. The colourful characters appear to be a modern take on The Garden Gang stories from my childhood, and given the media reports on many children who don’t know what fruit and vegetables look like, this can only be a good thing. The books are priced at £2.99 each and have stickers so could be bought instead of a pre-school magazine, and I’m all for books getting into children’s hands in any form.
Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of Little Jack Potato and the big surprise by Top That! Publishing for review. No other financial reward was given and the opinions are my own. I was not asked to write this post.
How To Draw 101 Cartoon characters (Top That! Publishing, 2012)
Our copy of this is extremely tatty, despite being only four months old because MG has flicked through, drawn on and coloured in throughout the book! MG is five and this book is probably too ‘old’ for her but it’s still useful for her to see stages of drawings building up. She’s not used it as intended, choosing to attempt to finish the step-by-step pictures in the book and colouring in the final pictures. DG has also joined in with scribbles…
The book does exactly what it says! It gives 101 4-6 (mostly six) step cartoon characters which are relatively straightforward to copy and improvise from. This book would be more suited to children 8+ I think, and still be enjoyed by teenagers and adults! It’s fun for younger children, and some younger children may enjoy attempting the steps but my two are more free-range in their art so preferred to do things their own way – and still loved the book!
This is one of a series of How to Draw 101… books, and at only £2.99 each they really are a bargain. I have my eye on Monsters, Dinosaurs and Pirates for a start!
Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of How to Draw 101 Cartoon Characters by Top That! Publishing for review. No other financial reward was given and the opinions are my own. I was not asked to write this post.
When I Dream of Christmas: Oakley Graham
(Top That! Publishing, 2012)
I know, it’s still October and you’re only just starting to think Halloween thoughts but even though there’s still 66 days until Christmas; there’s 6 weeks until 1st December and the Advent countdown which this book would be perfect for! Also I tend to collect for Christmas early so I can completely avoid shopping in November/December 😉
Each double page of When I Dream of Christmas consists of a gorgeous Christmas image on the right and simple humour-filled text on the left. I especially love that the main text font is an easy to read font (i.e. the ‘a’ is a circle with a tail rather than the more complicated print ‘a’; ‘b/’d’/’p’/’q’ are easily differentiated; capital ‘I’ and lower-case ‘l’ easily differentiated etc) which works well for handwriting practice too. MG loves to copy text from books to practice her handwriting.
*apologies for quality of picture, lighting not good enough*
There are so many pages of this book that I want to share, it’s hard to choose a favourite! The descriptions make me smile as we read through the book, and MG and DG love all the different Christmassy items as well as the glittery cover. We are feeling quite festive already, but I’m putting the book away until December now!
Always hang out a stocking for Father Christmas on Christmas Eve. Never hang out dirty socks as this is considered quite rude and can make your presents smell like cheese.
With twenty-seven double page spreads, this is a very substantial book that is still easy to read all the way through to children but also can be dipped in and out of one page at a time. It covers both secular and Christian elements of Christmas and I think will appeal to all religious backgrounds who want a humourous and not-particularly-factual coverage of the festive season!
Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of When I Dream of Christmas by Top That! Publishing for review. No other financial reward was given and the opinions are my own. I was not asked to write this post.
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