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Activity Books


Games and Puzzles


Dinosaurs Galore!     

Masayuki Sebe

Translated from Japanese

Gecko Press, (2010)






Find out which caveman is the hungriest, work out which brightly coloured dinosaur has hatched from one of five multi coloured eggs. Sound fun? You can do all this and more in Japanese author and illustrator Masayuki Sebe's Dinosaurs Galore puzzle book!

Bright and colourful, with a different puzzle or game on each page, Sebe has created a wonderful, dinosaur-themed book of fun. The puzzles vary in difficulty and some children (and adults) might have to think hard about a couple of the harder ones! Whilst some of the puzzles are under five friendly, a few maybe a bit beyond and more suitable for children aged six to eight.

Overall, this is an enjoyable puzzle book and should bring lots of amusement as the puzzles are designed to challenge children, but are clearly explained and simply worded. The dinosaurs and cavemen are eye catching and should raise a smile as well.

This is perhaps not a book for every child. Some children simply don't enjoy these puzzles or struggle with them. However, this book is also a simple pleasure that children can dive in and out of in small doses and would probably be great to take away for a holiday or keep for a rainy day, as it will keep children busy, stop complaints about boredom but also make them think a little.


100 Things
Masayuki Sebe

Translated from Japanese

Gecko Press, (2011)





Find your way through the counting maze in this colourful large format counting puzzle board book.  If this sounds like fun you can do all this and more in Masayuki Sebe's 100 Things, as it is so much more than just a counting book.  Each double-page spread is packed with detail.  Children can find the different colours and animals – 100 mice but `how many brown ones are there?' or `there are a 100 fish or are there?'  Look for the little stories and jokes on each page – a crying elephant or the mole that breaks wind – and see how each spread leads on to the next, or just count to a hundred over and over again.

The final spread brings everyone together so there are one 100 things to count.  At the back of the book there are some quiz questions for each page – `where is the elephant holding a pineapple?' or `where is the sleeping ant?'  which enables children to revisit those pages and search out the answers.

Following on from Dinosaurs Galore! Sebe has created an activity book of brightly coloured illustrations that are full of humour.  This is a challenging book that will help to develop their cognitive skills and keep young children (and adults!) busy for many hours, as there is always so much going on in these illustrations and new amusing detail to find.  

Ten Little Penguins
Jean-Luc Fromental and Joëlle Jolivet

Translated from French

by Amanda Katz

Abrams Books for Young Readers, (2011)



Bestselling author-illustrator duo Jean-Luc Fromental and Joëlle Jolivet have created 10 Little Penguins from their well-known 365 Penguins.

Featuring an original booklet by the authors it consists of ten counting games and ideas for play as well as 44 magnet illustrations making this is a perfect activity book and toy combination for all those penguin lovers.

Children can have fun working out 'The Miraculous Catch', how many fish are caught by the penguins on the 'Fishing Party?' or play the 'Fishy Game'.  The magnets allow children to create new scenes, combine characters and learn about numbers and counting along with the mischievous penguins and their friends.  They can be stuck on the fridge to play the counting games or used to solve the ten puzzles as well as invent lots of new ones. Not suitable for children under three.

Number Circus: 1-10 and back again!
Kvéta Pacovská

Translated from German

Minedition, (2010)




Number Circus is an exciting creation by celebrated Czech artist Kvéta Pacovská that invites children to play with numbers in an adventurous way.  There are square and round flaps to life, doors to open and a mirror to peek in, whilst working through the numbers one to ten.

Pacovská's style of using bold, dominant colours with geometric and abstract shapes, together with innovative die-cuts make this a unique counting book with a difference. It really is a riot of rich colour combinations on every page.  This is a brilliant concept book, with a surprise on every page that will take a child on a journey through the numbers and keep them amused for hours.

Who's Hiding 
Satoru Onishi

Translated from Japanese

Gecko Press, (2008)    





Who's Hiding? is an interactive book with simple cartoon animals created by Japanese artist Satoru Onishi.  This picture book requires children to look closely at each spread to find out which of the 18 different characters is hiding, crying, sleeping, angry, sleeping etc. At the beginning of the book all the animals are named. The first pages are strong primary colours, but then the colours get more complex as the book progresses and every double page has a little subtle change.

As well as playing 'Who's Hiding', the book is useful for colour recognition, counting and identifying the different expressions on the faces of the animals.  Even when everything is removed, a pair of eyes on a black page manages to convey individuality. This is an ideal book for the very young, but older children will enjoy this as a game too.

For a pdf version of this list please click below.

Activity books

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