I was excited when I read the first book in this box set. It was very simple, and my beginning reader will be able to handle it. I thought books 2-8 would progress slowly to become a bit harder, or they would all be that easy. I was wrong. After book 1, there are words like polliwogs, turnips, cunning, supper, and stunts.
I didn't like the activity books. The directions are so unclear. Here are just SOME examples. One of the pages says "draw a line to the correct name"...FROM WHERE? Then it says "Give Polly a lolly-pop". They could have just said "draw a lolly-pop for Polly". It says "Where did they go? To the ---- ----- with two blanks. Well if you read the story, they went to a shop, not to "the" a shop. Circle the polliwogs simply says "how many polliwogs?" and there is one polliwog with the words Circle 1 next to it, two polliwogs with the words Circle 2 next to it, and so on. Doesn't make sense! One page says to draw some alligators, but there is no room to do so. Then there is a page to draw a line to a matching word/picture. There are four pictures and 8 words...Are you supposed to draw a line to the pictures too? That is how a lot of children's books are set up...match the pic to the word... not word to word...at least not with matching pictures all around the page. The funny bunny page says to color the border yellow over blue. Many pages say to color the border. I think kids would rather color pics...the borders seem boring...and yellow over blue?? Maybe if they elaborate..."to see what color you get" it would make more sense.
The worst part is the dotted lines they use for letters...they want the kids to trace it. They put big dots and starting points, as many handwriting books do. BUT they put the big dots in all the wrong places...encouraging kids to pick up their pencils and stop mid-letter or create letters in awkward ways...NO NO NO! My son has so much trouble with letter formation and has always been taught to start at the dot when tracing, etc...if he sees this book it will confuse him. The dots are in the wrong place for r,g,h,k, and u!
I say ditch the activities books...they are too small for little hands with poor crayon grasps any way. If you could get someone to write them who knows how to write activity books, then MAYBE...but they are still too small. When I saw they came with activity books, I thought it would be ideas for parents..like questions to ask, games to play, etc. Also, they could make the reading part a bit easier...more sight words and three letter words, less polliwogs.