A rainbow of boredom-busting holiday books from Usborne by various authors – book reviews –

Usborne Big Activity Pad by Kirsteen RobsonUsborne Big Activity Pad by Kirsteen Robson
Usborne Big Activity Pad by Kirsteen Robson
As the country gears up for a summer of holiday and travels, keep your youngsters busy and out of mischief with these super activity and puzzle books from leading independent children’s books publisher Usborne.

Age 6 plus:

Usborne Big Activity Pad

Kirsteen Robson

Long holidays call for big, boredom-busting activities so let your kids get stuck into this activity pad packed with hours of fun, challenges and entertainment. Each page in this exciting pad has a different theme, from pirates and robots to forests and fish, and is overflowing with things to spot, puzzles to solve, and details to colour, doodle and draw. Choose a picture and then test out your brain power on activities including word, number and logic puzzles. These fantastic puzzles will keep young brain cells active over the holidays and if there are any stumbles along the way, it’s good to know that all the answers are at the back section of the pad. The pad’s sturdy back also makes it accessible for children to enjoy either at home or while travelling on trains and planes. So grab a pencil and crayons, get your brain into gear and let the holiday fun begin!

(Usborne, hardback, £6.99)

Age 3 plus:

Abigail Wheatley and Samara Hardy

Little ones will be seeing double when they learn to play the game of Snap with these super-snappy Superheroes cards. The ideal way to learn important skills like turn-taking, rules, and winning and losing, and all whilst enjoying the fun of spotting pairs, these robust, easy-to-handle cards feature quirky and original superheroes ranging from Underwater Boy and Green Fingers to Duplicator and Shooting Star. Playing games is a vital part of a child’s early education, helping them to understand concepts such as co-operation with other people, conversation and concentration. An entertaining new take on the well-known card game… and perfectly created to help ‘snap’ youngsters out of their boredom!

(Usborne, card pack, £5.99)

Age 4 plus:

Little Sticker Dolly Dressing: Summertime Fairies

Fiona Watt and Lizzie Mackay

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Summer’s here and it’s time to dress the fairies for the sunshine! Hours of hands-on fun are guaranteed with the new Little Sticker Dolly Dressing book, one of Usborne’s best and most popular series. And this magical new book is bulging with over 200 colourful stickers to dress the fairies and decorate the pages. Choose the fairies’ outfits and accessories as they fly, flit and skip through flower-filled meadows, play hide-and-seek in shady woodlands, make daisy chains and dance on Midsummer’s eve. There are twenty-five dolls to dress and the stickers include summer holiday extras such as shells, fruit, flowers and wildlife to complete the summery scenes. No self-respecting fashionista should leave home without this wardrobe of fairy wonders!

(Usborne, paperback, £5.99)

Age 3 plus:

Poppy and Sam’s Book and 3 Jigsaws

Heather Amery and Stephen Cartwright

What’s going on down at the farm? All kinds of animals are having fun on Apple Tree Farm in this delightful new book and jigsaw set which features the eternally popular sibling duo, Poppy and Sam. Meet the farmer’s two adventurous children and their animal friends with this entertaining and beautifully produced box set which contains three simple nine-piece jigsaws, ideal for little hands and as an introduction to puzzles. Also part of the pack is a charming story book about life on a farm which features Stephen Cartwright’s original artwork and comes full of that special child-appeal which has seen the Poppy and Sam stories sell millions of copies throughout the world for over thirty years. Pre-schoolers will love spotting farmyard animals and the much-loved little yellow duck, and then completing the jigsaws to recreate three of the colourful, farm-themed illustrations. A box of double delights!

(Usborne, box set, £7.99)

Age 7 plus:

Usborne 100 Children’s Crosswords: Holiday

Phillip Clarke and Pope Twins

Who can resist a good crossword? Youngsters will love testing their knowledge and word power with over one hundred holiday-themed crosswords, covering everything from camping and cities to tropical islands and famous landmarks. There are hours of absorbing entertainment and achievement to be enjoyed as the fun crosswords gradually get harder throughout the book. And never fear if youngsters get stuck… all the answers are at the back of the book and there are a few handy tips if children are new to crosswords. Perfect for popping in a suitcase, for long journeys and playing with friends and family, and the ideal way to increase concentration skills, knowledge and logic… and to keep youngsters out of mischief!

(Usborne, paperback, £4.99)

Age 5 plus:

Unicorn World Magic Painting Book

Abigail Wheatley and Elzbieta Jarzabek

What child can resist the magic of a magic painting book! All you need is water and the brush provided, and then abracadabra, marvel as the black and white pages turn into a rainbow of vibrant colours. Enjoy the look of amazement on the faces of your little ones when they use the brush to paint water over the illustrations and reveal an enchanted and colourful land full of unicorns frolicking with fairies, butterflies and mermaids amid magical gardens, palaces and pools. From a grand castle to a jungle full of tigers, the black and white pictures are transformed in seconds. And with tear-out pages and a laminated flap to place behind your work to stop paint seeping through, youngsters can be sure of a perfect result every time. Magic at a paintbrush stroke!

(Usborne, paperback, £6.99)

Age 3 plus:

First Sticker Book: Wild Animals

Holly Bathie and Gareth Lucas

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What better way to teach children about all kinds of wild animals from around the world than in vibrant a sticker-book packed with facts and fun? This stylish, illustrated activity book takes youngsters from the steamy rainforest and tropical jungle to the depths of the ocean via deserts, forests and mountains, revealing wild animals, big and small, along the way. And with over 150 stickers to add to the pages, children will love exploring the diverse habitats of creatures like lions, giraffes, ostriches, monkeys and exotic butterflies, and creating their own colourful animal scenes. Ideal as a holiday travel activity book or to entertain on wet days, there won’t be a dull moment with this colourful and creative activity book.

(Usborne, paperback, £5.99)

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