Learn with Maisy by Lucy Cousins

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Walker Books, 2011.
(Ages 2-5) Recommended. A fun, bright, lift-the-flaps book, Learn with Maisy explores colour, weather, number, size, movement, touch, days of the week, sound, pattern and more and there are cheeping yellow chicks around every corner! On first glance the format is the same as your usual first concepts book but this Maisy book really reaches above and beyond that. The interaction encouraged between adult and child is beyond counting and letter sounds with discussion prompting questions such as 'who is spotty?' and 'what kind of weather do you like?' It differs in a dramatic way from other concept books of this type in that it doesn't just ask us to count or name but encourages involvement and engagement. The reader is asked for example, 'Can you make these noisy noises?' (lawnmower- bruummm, trumpet- tooty-tooty-toot) and 'Can you jump like a kangaroo?' Children are also encouraged to engage in more complex thinking such as being presented with 2D un-textured pictures of things such as a porcupine, an egg, an icy-pole and a cat and being asked, 'what do these feel like?' Also explored are comparisons and opposites in ways that support children in making these connections rather than just being informed, such as when they are asked 'who has a big tail?' which encourages them to explore various animals and their attributes. This is a fantastic book to share with children who are curious and eager to share their developing knowledge of the world. Learn with Maisy is a refreshing concept book that doesn't underestimate children and breaks free of that same predictable format. It is clear to see that a lot of thought about how children develop conceptual understandings has gone into this book. Most of all it is fun and bright and children will love it!
Nicole Smith-Forrest