Cici, my four year old daughter, loves Cbeebies. She has lots of favourite characters, but she absolutely adores Topsy & Tim. She loves coming home from school and catching them on TV while she’s eating her tea. She’s always giggling at whatever it is they’re up to. Her favourite episode is the one where they find a cat and try to reunite it with its owner.
Did you know that Topsy & Tim were originally a series of books? Spanning 50 years, authors Jean and Gareth Adamson have sold over 21 million copies! All Topsy & Tim titles can be found over at Ladybird Books. This week, Cici excidedly received some Topsy & Tim goodies in the post from Ladybird books; a pair of Topsy & Tim Activity sticker books and some activity sheets. She also received a ‘Pencil Practice’ workbook and a Level 1 Reading Book about ‘Cars’.
Cici started full time school in April this year and moved into her new class at the beginning of September after the Summer holidays. She’s started bringing homework home and also a daily reading book, where she has to study the pictures and tell me what’s going on. The activity books she’s received will be a great tool in helping her to learn to read & write, as well as develop her Maths skills. Each week in school, they learn about different letters of the alphabet – this week being d, i & t – so we opted to begin with the ‘Topsy and Tim’s First Words Sticker Activity Book’. The book contains various activities based on everyday words. Cici particularly enjoyed finding the relevant stickers to dress Topsy & Tim in their rainy day and sunny day clothes. It wasn’t all sticker based work though. There were sections were Cici had to form certain letters by following the dots with her pencil. With my assistance, she’d completed the first half of the book in no time. She didn’t need too much of my input, I simply read out what she needed to do and she got the gist of it quite quickly. The ‘First Numbers Sticker Activity Book’ was more of the same – lots of number recognition and counting activities. The ideal starter books for school-entry aged children.
Personally, my favourite book was the ‘Ladybird…I’m Ready To Write! First Pencil Practice’ book. I would have loved this book as a child. I enjoyed writing from a young age and was a full on bookworm. This book is full of fun activities, all of which are designed to encourage the user to form lines and curves to develop handwriting, as well as letter formation. As with the Topsy and Tim activity books, this pencil practice book also contains dotted images and letters for Cici to follow. Each page contains useful advice to parents about why that particular activity helps development and what you can do to encourage further development. Cici enjoyed colouring in her completed pictures afterwards, any excuse to scribble away!
At bedtime, we took the ‘Read It Yourself: Cars’ book up with us. Cici can’t yet read so I read it to her and asked her to repeat the words after me. The book isn’t necessarily a story book, but a thin, glossy, informational book containing common words she will get to know as she develops her reading skills. Again, the book contains notes for both parents and teachers alike (it’s designed to be used in schools) by giving some ideas for use.
My verdict? All of these books are excellent tools to help youngsters during their early stages of learning to read and write. I’ll certainly be looking out for other titles in each individual series. The fact that two of them included popular characters Topsy and Tim was a massive boost for Cici, being two of her favourite characters, she couldn’t wait to race through each page to see what they are up to on the next. There is also a Topsy and Tim iOs app available to purchase too for just 99p – Topsy and Tim Start School – which contains 6 fun games to play. Cici and I are yet to try this out due to our iPad being low on storage (I really need to go through it and delete stuff!), but I’ve heard great things!
Disclaimer: These books are PR samples sent to us by Ladybird Books to review, however the opinions expressed in this post are 100% our own!