Friday, April 7

"First Stories" Board Books Review

While I may not have a regular "reviews of the week" this week, I do want to share a review of three special board books. This series has a particularly timely recent release, what with the success of Disney's new Beauty and the Beast movie...

First Stories
Illustrated by Dan Taylor

Publisher: Silver Dolphin Books
Age: 1 - 4 years
Genre: Fantasy
Format: ARCs from publisher

Classic fairy tales made for the youngest audiences! With Beauty and the Beast, Rapunzel, and Cinderella, toddlers are introduced to the star characters and stories in an interactive fashion: push, pull, and turn mechanisms bring the board books to life. Readers can help Rapunzel let down her hair, turn the Beast into a prince, and help Cinderella try on her glass slipper in these new retellings.

Okay, so that's the general overview and I do want to give a bit of a general review before I address each individually. First of all: reducing a fairy tale to four pages and eight lines of rhyming prose is very impressive; all of these stayed true to the basic premise of the original tales. In rhyme! Yes, I said it again. The rhyming short story is impressive. Of course, each relies heavily on the illustrations to fill in some of the gaps and boy, good things these interactive (and gorgeous!) illustrations are so well-done. Little tid-bits to discover on every page! As for the actual books: they are very sturdy and will last a good number of readings. The mechanisms won't last forever, though, as a few good twists in the wrong fashion or a too-hard pulling of the thinner top layer may result in a shorter life span. Still, the sturdiness is impressive (for all the things these books can do). I would definitely recommend these books. Which is my favorite though? Well...

Beauty and the Beast
ISBN: 978-1626868977
Date of Publication: February 7, 2017

My rating: ★★★½

This is my favorite classic fairy tale. And yet...this is the one that fell just a bit short, compared to the rest. I mean, it is quite the task turning a classic tale into a eight-line poem with pictures. I guess this story was just a little too complex for that task. The text was just a bit too stretched (to make rhymes work) for the story to feel complete. The illustrations and interactive mechanisms were still impressive, however, and it's certainly still enjoyable. The page where Beauty's father picks the rose is particularly gorgeous and impressive.

Find it at your library or on Amazon

ISBN: 978-1626869004
Date of publication: March 14, 2017

My rating: ★★★★

Now this one was sure fun because you get to let down Rapunzel's hair! So quintessential in fairy-tale-dom. The story stayed pretty true to the original, except for the rather convenient twist in this version where the prince falls from the tower without injury. Well, yay for him! Glad that worked out. This is a cute book though, and perfect for fans of Tangled.

Find it at your library or on Amazon

ISBN: 978-1626868984
Date of publication: March 14, 2017

My rating: ★★★★½

Winner! This one was my favorite. I felt this one did the best job at including all the major plot points of the original tale while providing some of the most fun interactions (e.j. helping Cinderella sweep or the Fairy Godmother transforming Cinderella's clothes). The rhymes are well done and the illustrations are so cute. Yes, this is my favorite, but I definitely recommend all of them!

Find it at your library or on Amazon

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