Friday, November 25, 2016

Review: Wee Gallery Safari by Surya Sajnani

Wee Gallery: Safari: A Slide and Play book

I have to start with a comment about durability. Normally I don't even catalog books with "lift the flap" or "moveable parts" or "pop-up" anywhere in their description, even if they are donated to the library. They just don't last long enough to make the processing worth it! This, however, may actually make it to the shelves.

The moveable parts in this case are sliding puzzle pieces.

The sliders are thick, and securely fastened in their little grooves. I was able to slide my thumbnail underneath them, but it was obvious it would take some determined prying to get them out. Not indestructible, but they look like they would last as long as most other board books.

I saw a comment on one review saying the pieces were too hard for little ones to slide, but the kids I tested this on had no problem (the advantage of being a librarian - multiple age groups always on hand as guinea pigs!) The limited choices make this a great early introduction to puzzles - no turning it the wrong way or trying to force it into a place it won't fit - and no lost pieces, hooray!

Each puzzle is paired with a riddle.

It occurred to me that this series might be particularly successful with kids who are working extra hard on language and fine motor skills, and I just happen to know a few of those. I handed this copy over to my favorite preschool teacher working with students with developmental delays, and asked her to let me know what she and her students thought. After a few weeks of heavy usage, she reported that the kiddos loved it, and that the sliding pieces held up very well. She did say that the binding itself seemed to be a bit thin, and that she already needed to tape it. Overall, however, a success!

This whole series would be great as a gift, paired with some toy animals like these:

Melissa & Doug Animal Rescue Shape-Sorting Truck - Wooden Toy With 7 Animals and 2 Play Figures

Can't go wrong with Melissa and Doug!

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