Aiden loves recognising logos and “collecting” things in his head as he spots them as well as visiting museums, so I knew as soon as I received the Laurence King Autumn catalogue that there were a few standout books that would be exactly to his liking. As we don’t live in a city and are actually about to move even further up North into the Highlands, the opportunities for us to visit museums and art galleries drops pretty dramatically but we will still be getting on that train and aiming to go once a month. In the meantime these Laurence King books will form the basis of our very own museum at home. Aiden and I will be mini curators and we are both pretty excited to say the least (Aiden by the books and me as I get to fulfil one of dream job roles. Hey, some days I’ll clutch at anything to challenge my mind again!) So without further ado, here are the first two books that will be central to our collection, not least because one of them actually is entirely about collections!
My Collection of Collections by Nina Chakrabarti (£12.99)
They say never judge a book by it’s cover but I think in this case we really must make an exception. As soon as I saw this cover and title I was intrigued. I was intrigued to discover if the contents really would be as simple (and by simple I mean in a perfectly formed wonderful way) as it appeared to be. I suspected the beautiful illustrations of origami, stamps and medals and the to-the-point title of “My Collection of Collections” was actually concealing something else, like a random smoke screen. Well I am absolutely relieved to tell you that I was both wrong AND right.
Firstly I was wrong because this book really does do the wonderful simple and pure statement it claims on the tin; it is a book of collections. 80 pages and 64 illustrations of collections to be precise, and they are just perfection. A whole page of items left at the train-station lost and found? Genius! All your standard collections are covered too such as stamps and museum artefacts.
Now the bit that I was right about, in a round about sort of way. This book is about collections but it is also so so much more than “just” stylish illustrations of weird and wonderful items; this books invites the reader to add to those collections. It is filled with prompts to start your own collection either in the book or separate. There are spaces to add those stickers you get on bananas and apples, and directions on how to press flowers and add them in. The book met all of my hopes and surpassed them.
Aiden was absolutely fascinated with asking questions about what all the illustrations were and how they were all linked. The train-station one really got him as it took him a while to see how several seemingly unrelated items came together to form a collection. Not only is this book the perfect introduction to teach children about collections, it is also so open ended it has prompted a multitude of questions from Aiden. I know each time we look at it we will definitely be discussing and learning something new and what more could you ask from a book?
Egyptomania by Emma Giuliani & Carol Saturno (£18.99)
As with My Collection of Collections, our initial impression of Egyptomania was one of awe. Aiden was thrilled to discover a book that was so huge! Big book = big fun right? Correct. With 20 gigantic pages and some 64 illustrations that appear so big that my boy could fall into them, this really is one of those magical books kid’s keep as their prize possession for many years.
Each page features a sub topic on Ancient Egyptian history such as embalming or the pharos. As with the collections book, Aiden had so many questions straight for the start. He was particularly fascinated by the tiny attention to details and all the different animal imagery on items throughout. Each page has a few lift the flap sections but they are varying sizes and move in different ways which really keeps things interesting for children I think. The contents is pretty advanced and it is aimed at slightly older children but I don’t censor things like History and none of it is concerning, just more complex that your standard three year old’s books. It is however a lot more thought provoking and interesting that a standard kids book and Aiden has asked for us to sit and look through it again several times this week. The illustrations are totally spot on as they always are with Laurence King books, and I think and it is this and the imersive world the book creates that make it so engrossing and I book we will return to for many years yet.
Disclaimer: We were sent these books from Laurence King publishers in exchange for a honest review. As always, all opinions are our own and truthful.
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