Yet another book that came out of the bag of goodies sent round for my daughter by my neighbour was The Baby's Catalogue by Allan Ahlberg and I've got to give it my neighbour, she certainly picks winners! This is another one that my 13 month old daughter instantly fell in love with and picks it up every single day for me to go through the book with her.
The Baby's Catalogue is a picture book which shows everyday items in a fun and enjoyable setting. Pushchairs, toys, teapots and sweet animals are laid out in a similar way to a catalogue which leads to the obvious game of 'which one would you want?' when I'm sitting looking at the book with my daughter.
The illustrations in this book are fantastic. I usually prefer our baby books to have simple and eye catching pictures, but The Baby's Catalogue is filled with images for my daughter to observe and tiny details which perhaps she doesn't notice but as an adult I can spot the amused grin on the cats face or the tiny crack in one of the teapots. This is one book I will forgive for being over complicated for baby to look at as it's so beautifully and amusingly drawn.
My daughter loves to point at each item in turn and she never misses one however higgledy piggledy her pointing skills are! Her favourite page is the one with the prams and she immediately spotted the pram which looks similar to her own and she always points to this one first now and laughs as if to ask why her pram is in the book. She likes pointing at the babies in the prams as well and makes a little 'ahhhh' noise which I think is very sweet.
My favourite illustration in the whole book is a beautifully drawn baby boy sitting on a potty and poking around in his naval, what baby doesn't do that but it really does show what an observant illustrator Allan Ahlberg is to have noticed and drawn this. There are lots of little amusing touches like that and even though my daughter is transfixed on the larger items she'll still understand and laugh at the funny stuff when I point it out to her.
The Baby's Catalogue has got quite a nostalgic feel to it, the drawings put me in mind of the older Ladybird books where you can tell every illustration was carefully done with love and a good understanding of what young children (and their Mums!) want from a picture book. A lot of modern baby books are dispassionately drawn I think but the workmanship in this book shines through and the colours and repetitive nature of the drawings really bring the book alive for my daughter.
My little one definitely takes a big interest in this book and she sits on my lap while we go through all the items on each page, there's a little something on every page that takes her interest and she'll become engrossed in comparing it to the other items before turning the page for me to start all over again. She likes to see something that we own and then she'll toddle off to have a look at the real thing before coming back to have another look at the corresponding item in the book. It's such a clever concept, simple but definitely enjoyable and somewhat educational for babies and toddlers.
This is a paperback book with around 30 pages, I think perhaps the pages could be thicker as in the copy my daughter has they're quite thin and it's only a matter of time before a page gets ripped. I like the large A4-ish size of the book because the illustrations are so beautifully detailed that in a book any smaller the reader would not really get the benefit of all the quirky little touches of the drawings.
You can buy a copy from Amazon for