Saturday, 8 October 2011

Review: The Froobles

The Froobles are fruit and vegetable characters that have been brought to life by the magic of children's imaginations. Scenes created by playgroup children provide The Froobles characters with an ever-changing and magical world to explore.

Review: This is a great idea for a book range which gives lots of potential to interesting scenarios and it is an idea which even the smallest of children can relate to. "Imagine if these characters jumped in to your picture" I said to my son and he responded with "I'd paint a park for them to play". So I was aware that this was a book which he clearly understood and so I felt confident that he would understand most of the plot.

This pocket-sized fruity range of books has instantly become a hit in my household. From the minute they arrived my son pulled the books from my hand and immediately started naming each characters fruit, he seemed intrigued with the friendly faces and was enthralled when I announced their names. Before we could start on the book we had to run through the entire back page, which detailed all the characters of the range. The two titles we had to review were 'Tessa Tomato and the rainforest rainbow' and 'Charlie Chilli and the safari song'. The use of alliteration in the titles made these sound instantly more appealing.

The first page we are greeted with is the simple scene which the children have created. I liked the fact that each page was not too busy and contained pictures which really collaborated effectively with the story text. Traditional story telling is also in place with these books as they start with 'One day' which I loved as it reminded me of the wonderful stories I had as a child. Sometimes I feel books try too hard to be modern and fail miserably. This book incorporated modern with old effectively and certainly draws in the reader.

The pictures grab your attention by calling you to assess how they were made; you have fingerprint trees, patterns made with buttons and buttons for eyes and flowers and squiggly lined drawings which are most certainly the 'playgroup children's' drawings.

The characters interact and speak to each other throughout the book which allows you to use your best storytelling skills in putting on various voices which all children love. And the fact that each book seems to have a moral is a lovely aspect too. In the Tessa and Tomato book, we have Tessa realising that although she has missed a rainbow, beautiful colours can be found in everyday things. In Charlie Chilli we have him realising how inconsiderate he has been playing music so loudly.

The size of the books make these very portable for amusing my children whilst out and about and also allows small hands to handle the books with ease and the glossy pages make them feel very durable. On numerous times I have found my son reading these by himself.

Each book also has a sticker page at the back which allows children to continue the theme of the book on a sheet of paper and recreate their own scene which all children will love doing. If you are feeling creative you could even have a go at making up your own story for your child.

All in all, this is a bright and vibrant book collection which has many elements which children will be able to relate to and recognise. Pleasant story plots make children aware of certain emotions and will certainly have them wanting more of these wonderful books.

Retailing at £2.69 these are the perfect buy!

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Guest Review: AniMagic Benji

From the first moment that she saw Benji, Hannah was won over by his loveable face. Initially she was a little scared of the mechanical noise that he makes as he moves and she preferred to play with him switched off. Happily stroking him as she watched TV, pretending to feed him biscuits and playing "dog families" with him and her teddies.

Three days after he arrived Hannah took Benji with her to her cousins house. When they returned she had overcome her fear/dislike of Benji's noisy mechanics and had fallen for his cheeky nature.

Having been desperate for a pet for quite some time now, Benji is certainly filling a space in her heart, however I am not sure how long this will last as one of the first things that Hannah asked about Benji was, "Why can't Benji walk?" and now four weeks on she is beginning to play with him less than when he first joined us.

The only negative thing that I can say is that Hannah loves to cuddle Benji and when he is switched on this causes his mechanical legs to make a "click click" sound. I am worried that it may break him.

This aside Hannah adores him and he is certainly a very special toy. As first pets go, he is perfect for us. All of the pleasure without the fuss or the worry.

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