Where's Noddy?: Pull-the-tab Surprise Book by Enid Blyton

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Where's Noddy?: Pull-the-tab Surprise Book by Enid Blyton

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Category: For Sharing
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Magda Healey
Reviewed by Magda Healey
Summary: This simple and fun pull-the tab board book made to a tested formula of revealing surprises and collecting objects in a build up to a final will be a nice diversion for children aged 1.5 to 2.5, especially those keen on Noddy and the Toy Town characters.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 12 Date: January 2007
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
ISBN: 978-0007223442

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Noddy has been with British children for many years now (he is an Enid Blyton creation) and is as much a part and parcel of pop-culture tradition as Mickey Mouse in the US or Mis Uszatek (Teddy the Flop-ear) in Poland. The whole franchise is now massive and many people probably think of Noddy as a figure from the TV series and of the books as a television tie-in; though originally it was the other way round.

Where's Noddy? is a new offering from HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks and it's a board play-book for toddlers. There is a vestige of a story in which familiar Toy Town characters look for Noddy in different locations but the main thing is a solid, chunky board book with a pull-the-flap Noddy that pops up cleverly in all kinds of expected and unexpected places (behind Dinah's stall, in the Big-Ears' fireplace and in his own little car).

It's made to the ideal formula for a play-book for little children: they love looking for things behind flaps, pulling tabs to make objects and characters appear and generally playing hide and seek and finding surprises in books. In fact, my 5 year old can still be tempted by pull-the flap books like Little Zoo for example.

I am not very keen on big franchises encompassing all kinds of media and books that are or look like TV tie-ins, but in a case of such a simple board book the familiar characters work well and toddlers will be delighted to see Noddy pop up on each page.

There isn't much of the story, though an inventive parent can tell their own one from the pictures, while one content to use the book only will have the captions to read without having to make the text up.

There is also a nice build up to Noddy's party: we have a little surprise of Noddy appearing on each page, but also the final climax of Noddy appearing at his own party: there is an thread of collecting objects for the party and a child might be happy to recognise and point out all of the characters and try to remember the party props they were associated with in the final scene.

The main problem I found with Where's Noddy? is that the tab that needs to be pulled for Noddy to pop up requires quite a strong finger-grip: even my 5 year old struggled a bit to do it. For a toddler/small pre-schooler a lot of the joy of playing with books like that is in opening the windows and pulling tabs by themselves and it's not going to be easy (though the adult can help at first and after several uses the tab gets more loose and easier to pull).

For some inexplicable official reason the book is marked as "not suitable for children under 3 years due to small parts". This is, of course, complete rubbish. Firstly, there is no small parts in the book apart from the Noddy tab which could theoretically become dislodged but which is sizeable enough to provide no choking hazard whatsoever, in my opinion, and if it got chewed it would get chewed to a paper pulp anyway. Secondly, the suitable age for this book is somewhere between 18 and 30 months, most 3 years olds are probably too big for this (though a die-hard Noddy fan might still enjoy it).

All in all it's a nice little board book and if you have 2 year old that loves Noddy they will have plenty of fun with it: nothing particularly inspiring, but a good diversion and if you need an educational side; an opportunity for working out the story and playing a memory game as well.

My thanks to the publishers for sending this book.

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