hello baby : a high contrast mirror book is one of the new titles (September 2012) from Priddy Books designed specifically for newborn babies. My thanks to Priddy Books for sending me a copy of this to have a look at. It’s part of a wider range of books for newborns and the other items can be viewed here.
Before children become literate, they are pre-literate. The process of becoming literate is known as emergent literacy. It’s a massively fascinating area primarily because of the rapid developmental that occur. You can read a more in-depth post I did on this topic here and another interesting paper here which illustrates some of the key developmental shifts.
What’s the state of play with these books at the moment? I did a very informal survey of my local ASDA to see what was easily available. I know it’s not technically a bookstore but bearing in mind that Tescos, for example. is pretty much heading straight on to confront Amazon, I think discounting the reach and impact of supermarkets (no pun intended) is something we should be very careful of doing.
So this is what I found. Baby books are genuinely brand-related, and part of a wider media profile. We had Peppa Pig, The Lion King, various other Disney franchises and a few of the more ‘traditional’ baby books along the lines of ‘is this my bear’ and ‘press here for sound X. Whilst I obviously don’t take this informal survey to be indicative of the wider market, I do think that based on the uniformity of supermarkets, there’s definitely a place in the market for the ‘hello baby’ books and I’d welcome them being actively promoted as an alternative to the above books, some of which really didn’t impress me.
I have a lot of love for this book. hello baby is a conceptually exciting and visually pleasing book, reminiscent at points of Black and White by Tana Hoban. Produced in thick, solid, chewable board, it has a central cutout throughout the book with a mirrored panel on the final pages. This title is priced at £4.99 which seems about right (I note it’s already on Amazon at half price from some retailers).
Consisting of five spreads (ie: ten pages), it has no words and instead focuses its impact on a series of abstract images from a colour palette of black, white, red, yellow and blue. Each page has a separate image with a hole in the middle, and the final page has a mirror inset in the hole. It’s a fun, gorgeous and very visually stimulating book. I can imagine there’s a lot of fun to be had just looking through this and using it as a springboard for colour, shapes and self-recognition.
This is a really solid and very gorgeously designed book and one I’d massively enjoy sharing with babies as I think there may be a lot of pleasure to be experienced on both sides. You never know what may happen, they may grow up to be the next Miró..!