Baby boy and I found these lovely chunky board books at the library. They are from the Baby Sparkle series from DK Books. There are 8 in this series, we chose Funny Faces and Animals. I can’t find an author listed for these books but the barcode stickers from our libary name Dawn Sirett as the author.
We were instantly attracted to these books because, as the name of the series suggests, they are just so sparkly! The covers have bright sparkly stripes contrasted on a white background so they are visually very stimulating for a baby.
Each book uses real photos and in Animals, the photos of each animal are on an illustrated background of one or two colours. The photos stand out and are given some context with the illustrations and text that invites you to make the sounds or do the actions of each animal. The sound or action words are repeated too which is great for babies as repetition is always a brilliant way to help them learn. “Snap! Snap! Snap!” goes the crocodile “Go grrrr, grrrr, roar!” like the lion cub.
The words are surrounded by bright coloured spots or stripes which have a tactile element to them – glitter of course!
My baby boy finds it really funny to watch and listen to me doing the actions and making the sounds. His favourite is jump jump jumping like the rabbit as I pick him up and bounce him up and down.
The last animal we meet is a sleepy polar bear who is snoring, a lovely end to the book as you can get as animated as you like all the way through and then calm things down before you finish reading it. It would make a great book to share at bedtime.
In Funny Faces, the pages are laid out in the same way with tactile, glittery spots and stripes around the words. On each opposing page is a photo of a baby’s face in a brightly cololured circle. Again, the text invites you to copy the faces and interact with the pictures in the book.
My baby’s favourite page is the “silly face” page where the baby is sticking their tongue out (the same photo that’s on the front cover). My baby loves sticking out his tongue out and it is amazing to watch how he studies this 2D photo of a baby and then copies the action.
The last two pages in this one are a baby hiding behind her hands and then saying “peekaboo!” on the last page. We do this over and over again, so many giggles!
I love baby books about looking at faces, especially when real photos are used. You can see some of our other favourites here and here. Face recognition and studying faces is such an important part of a little ones social development and something that is hardwired from birth. I remember (from my studies at university many years ago) learning about a study that found newborn babies can recognise their mothers faces at just a few hours old. Amazing! If you want to find out more, then this article gives a nice overview of babies social skills and how they recognise faces.
We have loved sharing these books and they’ve given us such a lot of opportunities for play. My bigger boy enjoys joining in too and will happily act out the animals actions and the different faces, much to his little brother’s delight.