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Juliette (Bedfordshire)

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Protecting the Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe (and Parents Sane)
Protecting the Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe (and Parents Sane)
by Gavin De Becker
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.97

4.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile read but quite US-centric, 2 April 2014
I'd read The Gift of Fear a while ago and found it interesting, and with the first of my children reaching the age where safety issues are starting to become relevant, I decided to see what Gavin De Becker had to say on the subject. Overall I find his approach much more useful than much of the commonly regurgitated 'stranger danger' type advice.

The first few chapters don't contain anything that isn't in The Gift of Fear, but were a reminder to me that people's access to children is often via their parents and thus the importance of me recognising the common patterns and being aware of my gut instincts.

There are then a couple of useful chapters about what to tell children to do if they are lost, the topic of talking to strangers and 'The Test of Twelve' - a list of things a child needs to know to be capable on their own. It mentions several American programs for educating children on these topics but without giving details of what they actually teach which is mildly frustrating as I'd have liked more detail.

The next two chapters are about finding substitute care. Some of this is only relevant to the US, but there are some useful questions to ask if you are interviewing baby-sitters, nannies or nurseries. These are followed by a chapter on 'Sexual Predators' which mostly reiterates previous content and has a long section on choosing a pediatrician, obviously not applicable in the UK, and a chapter on 'Children in School', which again has some useful questions to ask, but is quite US-specific much of the time (ha, I think if I went into prospective primary schools here asking about guns, they'd think I were bonkers).

We then move onto teenagers - with one chapter on girls which I imagine would be interesting if you have daughters, another on boys and a final one on teen violence both of which focus so much on guns as to not really have any relevance here.

The book ends with a chapter on domestic violence which obviously won't be of direct use for most people (but may be extremely valuable for anybody who is in that situation) and another on the US-equivalent of social services.

Overall, since I'd already read The Gift of Fear, there were only a couple of chapters that were really that useful to me plus the lists of questions to ask nurseries, schools etc. However, the book overall was still an interesting read and it was worth reading for those chapters. If you haven't read The Gift of Fear the I'd definitely recommend it. If you haven't, I'd suggest getting a copy from a library to skim through rather than buying it.


My Big Train Book (My Big Board Books)
My Big Train Book (My Big Board Books)
by Roger Priddy
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 5.89

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice book but fairly simple, 18 Mar 2014
This book consists of five sets of double pages - 'Around the world', 'High-speed trains', 'All kinds of train', 'Your train ride/Steam trains' and 'Colourful trains' each with lots of pictures of different trains with the type of train written next to each. The front cover gives you a pretty good indication of what the rest of the book is like. It felt a bit simplistic for my three year old and I don't think he learned much new about trains from it. On the other hand he did enjoy it and we looked through it together lots of times. It feels like a good quality book and would make a good present for a train-obsessed two year old, however I'm not sure I would actually buy it for a three year old (we got a copy from the library). It'd have been nice if there had been a few more British trains however so he might have been able to spot a few that he had been on himself - there isn't even a London tube train!


Can You See Sassoon?
Can You See Sassoon?
by Sam Usher
Edition: Paperback
Price: 4.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Fun, but limited reread value, 10 Mar 2014
This review is from: Can You See Sassoon? (Paperback)
My just-turned three year old enjoyed this book and spotting the snake on each page. The illustrations are quite fun. However, he did quickly learn the location of Sassoon on each page. I think children too much younger might have problems spotting the snake as he is quite well hidden on some pages! We got it out as a library book and it was good pick, but not sure I'd buy it as we've probably exhausted the fun to be got out of it - though I'd consider getting it as a birthday present for other children of a similiar age.


Who's Hiding?
Who's Hiding?
by Satoru Onishi
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Has only been read a couple of times, 10 Mar 2014
This review is from: Who's Hiding? (Paperback)
Each double-spread has the same 24 animals on it. In about half the pages, the background colour of the page is changed so that a subset of the animals is hiding. On the other pages, there's a question like 'who is crying?', 'who has horns?', 'who is angry?', 'who is backwards?'.

It's a nice book in that it is interactive - but didn't quite engage the interest of my just-turned three year old enough for him to want to read it a couple of times although he enjoyed it the times that we did (luckily we got it out as a library book rather than bought it). He was also very bothered by the fact that zebra was orange with black stripes rather than white with black stripes. I think that some of the questions are just a bit on the tough side for that age group (e.g. the pictures are fairly stylised so it's not that clear which animals have horns, likewise, it's quite hard for a child that age to figure out which animal looks angry) while the basic 'who is hiding?' questions are too easy. And of course, they quickly learn the right answers. I imagine that mileage might depend on the child in question however!


Mousetronaut: Based on a (Partially) True Story (Paula Wiseman Books)
Mousetronaut: Based on a (Partially) True Story (Paula Wiseman Books)
by Mark Kelly
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 10.74

3.0 out of 5 stars Didn't quite hit the mark, 6 Mar 2014
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I really like the fact that this story is realistic in terms of its depiction of space travel. However, the story feels slightly weakly told, and it lasted less than a week as our three-year old space-mad son's bedtime book before he wanted something else - he just never really got into it like he does with some books.


Orchard Toys Rocket Game (Assorted Colours)
Orchard Toys Rocket Game (Assorted Colours)
Price: 6.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Popular with our 3 year old - but you need to tweak the rules, 6 Mar 2014
This is a game of chance - essentially you draw cards at random using a spinner, add them to your launch pad and at the end the person with the most loops in their rocket trail wins. The pieces are good quality and our space-mad three year old wants to play this a lot.

However, there is a silly rule that if you draw the rocket of your colour after the first round, then you go out. This obviously doesn't make for a very good game for such young children who are still getting used to the concept of games and for a game of chance, going out randomly just seems daft. So we just put the rockets aside when we draw them and put them on at the end. There is also a point at the end of the game where only one or two types of card are left and you have to keep spinning the spinning until somebody gets the right type - which isn't a great ending for the game. The pieces are great, but feel like some more work could have been done by Orchard Toys on the rules and that it hadn't really been playtested.

My other slight issue is that our son now things that rocket trails always have loops in them, which obviously isn't true!


Freight Train
Freight Train
by Donald Crews
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice little book, 6 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Freight Train (Paperback)
This is a fairly simple book - most pages have only a few words on them e.g. 'Green cattle truck, Blue coal truck' or 'Crossing bridges'. I was a bit disappointed when I got it as I thought it would be too simple for my just-turned three year old. However, he surprised me in terms of how much he enjoyed it and how often he asked me to read it. (By the way, don't expect them to learn anything about colour mixing from it though - the carriages are the colours of the rainbow and in the pictures where the train moves the colours blur into eachother - however my son has shown absolutely no interest in this aspect!)


How Toddlers Thrive: What Parents Can Do Today for Children Ages 2-5 to Plant the Seeds of Lifelong Success
How Toddlers Thrive: What Parents Can Do Today for Children Ages 2-5 to Plant the Seeds of Lifelong Success
by Sarah Jessica Parker
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 15.01

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hoping for more, 6 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
There's a bit of a paucity of good books specifically about toddlerhood. There's Alicia Lieberman's Emotional Life of the Toddler, '1, 2, 3.. The Toddler Years' and the recently published ToddlerCalm book, which are all somewhat useful and are generally sensible, but none of them really nailed it for me. I was hoping this book might, but I feel it falls in the same category and if you've already read books such as those, then you won't learn anything new.

This book focuses a great deal on what it's like to be a toddler, and why separation is difficult, why sharing is difficult, why transitions are difficult and so on. It's all well written but if it's already obvious to you that it must be an emotional rollercoaster being a toddler then nothing here will be a surprise. Given the author I was also hoping for some sort of scientific backing of the claims in the book, but it's a bit wishy-washy instead. The chapter on 'toddler shame' was slightly interesting in that I'd never thought of things from exactly that perspective before, but e.g. I was surprised that there was no mention of Erikson's Stages of Psychosocial Development, which you would have thought would tie in with that.

In terms of actual advice, the author's five key suggestions are to 'stay close, even when it's hard', 'you're in charge', 'be consistent (mostly)', 'be realistic', and 'make boundaries clear'. There is a chapter on 'everyday routines', talking about sleep, toileting, eating, getting dressed and getting out of the door. All sensible but nothing radical - have a bedtime routine, wait until they are ready for potty training, division of responsibility for meals, give limited choices when getting dressed etc. In another chapter, there is similiar discussion of transitions such as moving house and the arrival of a new baby. Overall, it feels more like a touchy-feely book than a practical one I would say though.

This isn't a bad book in that I think that lots of parents would find it useful and there isn't anything I find myself disagreeing with. I can even see myself recommending it to people as a fairly gentle book and easy read on the subject. However, I'd been hoping it might deal with the thornier parts of dealing with toddlerhood such as how to handle snatching and aggressive phases, how to handle resistance to routines and toddler indecision. It also suggests that it is for children age 2-5, whereas I think it's mostly a book for up to age 3. Obviously slightly older children are still in a similiar place emotionally but there is a big change in that you can start to explain things to them more, and your options for physically making them do or not do things are much more limited.


Safety 1st Swivel Bath Seat (Primary)
Safety 1st Swivel Bath Seat (Primary)
Offered by BabyBeyondUK
Price: 12.95

2.0 out of 5 stars Hard to get baby in and out, 27 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
We has a Mothercare Aquapod seat for our first and I decided to go for this seat instead second time round (the first one was too mouldy to reuse). I've been a bit disappointed. It feels like a good quality product in that the plastic is nice and chunky. However, I find it doesn't stick well and it's hard to get our son into it - partly because it swivels and partly because the ring goes all the way round. The ball on the front is a bit stiff and it's hard for him to reach that well into the water. I didn't like the mat on the Aquapod but preferred it in other respects and wish I'd got another one instead.


Crayola 5.1 Digital Camera GRAPE
Crayola 5.1 Digital Camera GRAPE

4.0 out of 5 stars Fine for a 3 year old, 27 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
We got this as a third birthday present for our son and it does the job we wanted - it's been a slowburner toy but he does use it and he understands how to use it. The camera quality obviously isn't great but it is good enough for a 3 year old. Two slight irritations - it's a bit too easy to delete photos and it makes annoying noises including one when it goes on standby. But overall it works reasonably well as a camera for that age. I wouldn't get it for a child who was too much older though.


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