Review Blog

Jul 16 2018

Let's visit the Olobobs by Leigh Hodgkinson and Steve Smith

cover image

Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408897621
(Age: 1-4) Board book, Lift-the-flaps, Shapes. Based on the English children's television show "Olobob Top", as seen on ABC, this early learning book about shape has been created by Leigh Hodgkinson ("Are You Sitting Comfortably?") and Steve Smith. There are four Olobob Top titles planned for release this year and another four in 2019: some sticker activity books and some board books. Olobob Top is about the adventures of three friends, Tib, Lalloo and Boble, who live in the biggest and best tree in Olobob Forest. Their world is made up of all sorts of shapes and in each television episode they build new characters who come to life. "Let's Visit the Olobobs" begins by introducing the Olobob characters and each page features a shape that the reader is asked to find within the accompanying picture (e.g., "Can you spot a triangle?"). There is more than one of the shape within each picture but the target shape can be identified because of its colour, pattern, or other specifics. The reader is spoken to directly ("Yes! It's Lalloo's dress. It's a very spotty dress Lalloo"), making it sound like the television narration on shows like Tellytubbies.
Young children will like pointing out all the other shapes they can see within the illustrations, with varying levels of entry depending on children's shape knowledge and vocabulary. Other concepts are also scattered throughout, including counting (numbers), size (long, big) and position (around). What is especially great about this is how there are shapes within shapes and sometimes the shapes are even obstructed or overlapping, requiring children to understand layering and position (e.g. the semi-circle of Gurdy's shell is partly hidden behind his head) in order to correctly locate the shapes. Bright colours and interesting smiley characters make this easy on the eye and will appeal to young ones even if they haven't seen the show.
Nicole Nelson

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