Helen Oxenbury -Working, Friends, Dressing, Playing

My baby boy is really enjoying his books now, he loves to sit and turn pages in board books and run his hands over the pictures. At bedtime he will point to his books and can even sign to ask for more!

We’re currently enjoying a gorgeous collection of 4 baby board books by Helen Oxenbury. Published by Walker Books; Working, Friends, Dressing and Playing are wordless picture books detailing the very busy life of a baby.

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Each book features the same little baby going about their daily business in the four different topics:

Working shows us all those important jobs babies need to do like eating, having a bath and sitting on a potty.

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In Friends, we meet all the different animals that the baby knows and is attempting to make friends with.

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Dressing is the only book in the set that follows a sequence as we start off with the baby looking very proud in just a nappy. A new item of clothing goes on with each new page until the baby is toddling off in their dungarees.

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Playing shows us a range of things the baby is having fun with, from banging pots and pans to playing outside with a ball.

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The layout of these books is beautifully simple with the illustrations standing out against plain white backgrounds. Each double page shows an item on the left hand page and then on the facing page is the baby interacting with that item.

Wordless picture books are a fantastic way to use lots of language which is a great way to help a little one’s development. Free from a text that might guide you towards one topic, a book without words leaves it open to you and your imagination.

These books provide so many opportunities for conversations; from labelling the different things you can see to discussing what the baby’s house might look like. A wordless picture book gives you the chance to fill in the story, write it for yourself and change it as you please.

Expressive illustrations allow you to pick up and talk about the possible feelings and thoughts of the baby in the books. I love the subtlety with which this is achieved, particularly through the knowing side glance between the baby and the chicken in Friends as they share some unspoken understanding. And the look on the baby’s face whilst on the potty in Working is a brilliant mix of displeasure and surrender!

My baby boy isn’t talking yet but we love to share these books and I happily tell him the words over and over as he points to the pictures. I’m sure as his language develops he will begin to make up his own narrative and stories about this busy little baby.

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