Reading is an integral part of who I am, it’s been a passion since a very young age and I have always been keen to pass that same love onto my children. Having three children of different age groups we now own a rather large collection of bulging bookshelves, however I am always looking (and buying) new books to keep that enthusiasm going. I was therefore excited when Dr Niamh Clune offered to send me a copy of her newest book especially personalised for Leo in exchange for an honest review.
Dr Niamh is a lady with many strings to her bow! Growing up she discovered a passion for ‘big’ words, perhaps helped by having lived with her family in London Irish pubs as a child and having plenty of exposure to the music, poetry and myth that goes hand in hand with the lifestyle – Seamus Heaney, the poet laureate was a family friend! As well as her growing love of poetry for which she won awards as a child, she is also a talented singer/songwriter who enjoyed a successful career in the 1970’s. Her main career as a psychotherapist has seen her working in Africa for Oxfam and UNICEF amongst others. She completed her PHD in Learning through the imagination which is where her real passion lies. Having become a Nana she has made return to what she loves best, writing, and believes there is nothing better than helping to “participate in the shaping of beautiful hearts and minds of the future” through penning children’s books.
The book Dr Niamh has sent us is her newest offering which is a personalised book – Leo Finds his name in the Alphabet Train. Being a personalised book it was of course an instant hit as Leo immediately had the link of recognition seeing his name in the title. Inside the book we meet Leo – our own personalised character illustration based on a brief description we gave. He really enjoyed the fact that his name is used on every single page and kept pointing out “that’s me”!
Made up of rhyming verse the book depicts a different letter of the alphabet on each page. Within the verse there is a focus on using words beginning with the letter that is being talked about which means lots of lovely tongue twisting sentences have been created! It also uses many words that younger children may not have encountered – Frazzled, luscious and misdoings as a few examples. I loved this as it helped start discussion whilst reading about the meanings of the words and ultimately will help widen Leo’s vocabulary – he loves using ‘grown up’ words!
The book is aimed at children under 5’s and supports the early years teaching of phonics, however I feel with its wonderful rhyme and ‘big’ words children much older would also enjoy listening and reading. It is wonderfully illustrated by Valeria Leonova with each page boasting a brightly coloured depiction of the animal and letter in question. They are all drawn with such attention to detail to make them have a real relevance to the text.
On our first read through I found Leo wanted to whizz through the book to find the letters of his name, however on subsequent reads he was more than content to sit and listen to every letter.
The book is a large sized, good quality hardback and would make a fantastic gift for any child – I remember having a personalised book as a child and I truly adored the fact it was all about me!
We received a copy of this book in return for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are our own.