Mum book review: The Melissa and Doug Poke-A-Dot books

Tilly’s new favourite book is kind of a book but is probably more of a toy. I say ‘kind of a book’ because the book doesn’t have an author or ISBN, but it does have pages that turn and words on it so… *shrug* Anyway. The book I’m referring to here is one from the Melissa and Doug ‘Poke’A-Dot’ series. Melissa and Doug is a brand best known for their great developmental toys for kids, and these books are fantastic. There are dots on every page you poke, and when you poke them, they make a satisfying popping sound, like you’re popping bubblewrap. But this lasts a lot longer than bubblewrap and it’s easier to pop.

The one we have is ‘Who’s in the Ocean‘ and it’s a great counting book with different sea creatures on each spread. We begin with ten little fish who love to explore, and along the way we also count turtles, seahorses, starfish, and dolphins, right down to one big whale who loves to explore. There is rhythmic rhyming text throughout the book but to be honest the highlight really is the popping books. I read this book to Tilly a few times when we first got it, but now when I ‘read’ it with her I don’t read the words at all. We just turn the pages and pop the bubbles and talk about the colours and sea creatures.

There are a number of other books in the series which cater to the usual obsessions of toddlers: farm animals, dinosaurs, ten little monkeys (jumping on the bed), other animals… I let Tilly pick which one she wanted and she chose the ocean one, so fish it was.

I love this book because it’s a really easy one for Tilly to entertain herself with. She’s happy enough with her other books to flip through the pages herself and look at pictures and ‘read’ aloud, but for the most part her books need an adult as an active participant. She likes being read to. But with this book, she’s content to pop the bubbles herself, which makes it an excellent distraction device.

You also know this book series is a winner with the toddler crowd because the kids are always fighting over the sample copy in the Gymboree lobby. (I’m not the only parent who has bought this book at Gymboree to entice their kid to leave.) This would be an excellent present for any toddler enthralled by bubblewrap or, really, just any toddler at all. Who doesn’t love poking and popping things?

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