We are a family of book-a-holics. When we received our box from DK Books, my husband was as excited as Cub to look through the new additions to our library, and especially to pore over the catalogue!
Long before Cub, a typical weekend activity for Papa Wolf and me was to go downtown to Indigo or Chapters and get lost in the stacks of books in our respective domains of interest… then try not to buy every single one that piqued our interest!
When I was pregnant, I didn’t stock up on baby gear… I couldn’t leave a thrift shop without at least a couple books to add to my future child’s library.
Of course, my dreams of reading delightful children’s stories, snuggled in bed with my son have yet to be realized: Cub doesn’t really want me to read stories to him. He wants me to talk to him about the pictures in the books, he wants to point out the images he knows and interact with them. He certainly doesn’t want to read a story from front to back!
So instead of reading him fairy tales, I let Cub lead the way through our DK “My First” Preschool Board Books while we’re snuggled under the covers every evening.
His favourite book in the collection is “My First Things That Go” We actually had an older version of this book on our shelf already (thrift store find!) but it didn’t have a page for trains (much to his dismay) and didn’t have the awesome image tabs that allow him to find the exact page he wants:
As we go through (at random, of course) the pages in “My First Things That Go,” Cub gets to practice his favourite words: “Car! Truck! Bus! Train! Boat! Plane!” He also points out certain vehicles that he associates either with people (a convertible for his Grandpa, a minivan for my BFF, Adrienne) or Paw Patrol characters. (He points to the helicopter and very emphatically tells me, “Skye! Mama! Skye!”)
Here he is telling me that the fire truck is what Marshall drives on the vehicles page of our “My First French Book: Words.”
Reading these board books is a great way for us to unwind together before bed, and is helping Cub strengthen his communication skills in French and English. The two French-learning titles we received have the French words listed in bigger characters with English below. Our family is bilingual, so, really, depending on if Mama or Papa is reading, all of our books are bilingual! If you’re interested in your preschooler learning French, the DK series will be a fun introduction. If you don’t speak French yourself, you can hear the words pronounced using a site like WordReference.com!
One of the things I personally like best about the design of this series is the sheer variety of images and vocabulary included, and the captivating colours on each page (And not just in “My First Colors!”):
I tend to “wing it” as we go through the books, talking to Cub about the different objects in each picture and how they relate to our lives. If you’re too tired to come up with your own prompts, each page has a question or a suggested action for your child to help them engage with the content.
The images are so crisp and bright that every time we get to the page with a picture of a wooden puzzle, Cub insists on trying to pick up the puzzle pieces!
Another thing I observed is the gender neutrality of the chosen images:
Since the most fun part of these books is finding your child’s own reality reflected on the pages, all I would change if I were to redesign some of the pictures chosen for this series is put the babies in cloth diapers (haha!) and add a picture of a subway to the “trains” page, since that’s a type of train Cub sees more often than any other.
If your toddler isn’t patient enough to read a story front to back, or you aren’t crazy about re-reading the same monotonous tale multiple times per day, then these DK Preschool “My First” Board Books will keep both of you happy!
As your toddler gains vocabulary and knowledge, these books will grow with them until they can identify every item on every page, count them, categorize them and maybe even name them en français!
Visit DK Books Canada to check out the full collection of “My First” board books for your toddler!