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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 2005
I am a speech therapist who works with preschoolers. I bought the most recent edition of this book, having used the first edition until duct ape would no longer hold it together. My chief complaint about the first edition was that it used many photographs of toys rather than the of real objects.

The current edition uses photographs of the real items, but I felt it actually used too many for my purposes. It has many photographs of scenes in various locations. This makes them too busy for many of the kids I work with; there is too much happening for us to be able to focus on only one or two objects or actions. The first edition featured pages full of pictures that were isolated on the page rather than embedded in scenes. I prefer the context-free format.

I was also disappointed with some of the vocabulary categories. Do preschoolers really need two pages of Places that feature Rocky Desert, Dry Desert, a Geyser and more? I could offer more examples here, but I've already given the book away to my niece.

Having pointed out my reservations, let me mention some of this books strengths. It does cover a lot of vocabulary; more than the first edition did. The pictures are all of the highest quality. It is a fine book.

If you want to share this book with a child whose vocabulary and language skills are average or above average, then I can recommend this book. However, for my purposes of teaching children whose skills are delayed, it just does not fill the bill.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on April 20, 2000
I bought several of these type board books for my 2 year old speech delayed daughter. We are currently working on building her vocabulary, and this book has been one of the best because it not only catagorizes the objects (as mentioned in another review), but it also has full color photographs. Young children are unable to distinguish that an abstract drawing of a cow is a cow, but with photographs of actual items they can more clearly understand and label the objects.
This book is durable, colorful, and has many many pictures to help give my daughter the vocabulary she needs to communicate with us. She loves to "read" her book, and now her older sister is reading it to her, which also helps my seven year old in her reading skills.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on April 24, 2000
My one-year-old enjoys looking at this book, though he doesn't have the attention span for me to point out everything on the page every time. I have two complaints though--one is that the photos are very small in this board book format--the monkey, for example, is really hard to see. The other is that the objects photographed are VERY European-looking. The bicycle doesn't look anything like an American bike, the perfume bottle is unrecognizable, the ice cream looks like three macaroons in a bowl, the telephone is a red and black dial phone, etc. I think it would've been better to have American-looking drawings than these European photos.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 28, 1999
My 4 year old had a bigger version of this book when he was 1 and I recently bought this version for my twin 1 year old daughters and as a gift for an 18 month old. The pictures are clear, bright, and simple and really hold your child's attention. The thing I like best about this book is that it arranges items in categories rather than by letter. A 1 year old doesn't care that apple starts with "A" as shown in many books, s/he needs to know that an apple is food or that a sock is clothing. I would highly recommend this book to anyone. You will reap many times your investment from it. I think it is a must have for your little one's library.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on April 29, 2000
We read this book often but never all the way through. We skip around a lot. It can be overwhelming since it offers tons of material. I agree with the reviewer who gets bored with it. (Let's face it, a 1000 words with no plot can get a bit dry for an adult!) Some other reviewers complained about the illustrations or plastic figures -- these don't bother me since there is so much to see, you don't really miss anything if you skip that stuff.
I do suggest a better alternative if you really want to capture the heart and mind of a toddler and help to expand their vocabulary. Find a topic they love and get a smaller, more focussed book on that topic. For example, my 2 year old loves vehicles. He picked out "My Big Machine Book" at the bookstore and he runs it into my room to read everyday!
Summary: Good for what it is, but I'd recommend several smaller more focussed board books instead.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 24, 2000
My 15 month old son loves this book and the others in the series (My first ABC and My First Animals). He will not sit still for any other picture book. Living near a farm, it was important to us that he see "real" animals in his books that he could easily associate with the ones he visits. He recognizes these pictures and is beginning to use the appropriate words for each. We love it and have given it as a gift to other parents of young children.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 15, 1999
This book has been wonderful for our little girl who we adopted from Romania at age 3 1/2 years. She only spoke three words in Romanian. This book has helped her make sense of her new surroundings by seeing photgraphs and learning the words. She loves to find the foods, animals and toys that she likes and to name them. I would highly recommend this book for every child as well as second language learner. There is no guessing about what the pictures are as almost everything is real. The few drawings are very clear and understandable. There is a Spanish version that gives the Spanish and the English word. I am an elementary principal and I ordered multiples of this book for each of my kindergarten through second grade classrooms. 90% of our students have Spanish as a first language so it has been great to share with our families. Our parents use it as a reference, too, to learn English!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
DK publishes the popular "My First Word Books" series, made up of word lists illustrated with brightly colored photographs. They are intended as a tool to help children develop vocabulary. Although many preverbal children do enjoy looking at the books, I believe they are of limited value for building vocabulary in a meaningful way.

Most children speak their first word at about age one, and by the age of six they have a vocabulary of about 14,000 words. This means they naturally learn about eight new words per day (see Language Files, chapter 9.3 for a discussion of this process). But, unlike adults learning a foreign language, young children learn language as they learn about the world. When Raul gets hurt, he might hear an adult exclaim, "Raul bonked his head on the counter!" By this he learns that the topmost part of himself is called "head" and the object he collided with is called "counter." When Melinda finishes eating spaghetti with her fingers and an adult says "Let me wash your hands and face," she learns what those parts of herself are called, as well as the meaning of the verb "wash."

This process is quite different from the way adults study a second language, where rote memorization is the norm. My problem with word-list books is that while objects are grouped thematically (multiple articles of clothing on a double-page spread, for example), they are experienced apart from their natural context. The pictures are also uniformly sized on the page, so a soccer ball may look the same size as a television.

For developing vocabulary in specific areas, the I Spy books may be a better fit. Richard Scarry's Best Word Book Ever also presents many different objects and activities in a natural context. But the best way to build a child's vocabulary is to read them stories and rhymes about a wide variety of activities and contexts. Preverbal babies and young toddlers respond very well to picture books with images of human faces. They also love to listen to rhythmic, repetitive books, which usually have genuine story quality that baby can grow into.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 4, 2003
We have had the book since our first boy was born. It has been literally torn to shreads since he has read it more than any other book. I am continually amazed as he pulls it out of the pile again and again to look at all the pictures. Kids love details and he notices them all. The book is full of intricate pictures and he and his brother love to pore over it for a long time. I came online just now to buy another copy since ours has lasted only three years and he still loves it. Maybe the publisher would consider a version made of rip-stop nylon?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 8, 2004
I bought this book for my daughter when she was about 13 months old. I wish I'd gotten it sooner! Her interest in the book grows and grows as she learns more and more what things are. Her favorite pages by far are the front cover, the food page, and the animal pages. She even learned about the letter O from the front cover (she thought they were balls, and so we taught her about O's).
She even uses the foods page as a menu. Before she learned the signs for some of her food, she'd bring the book over to me and point at what she wanted to eat. It was very cute.
She is 17 months old now, and the book is still one of her favorites. As she learns more and more what things are, she likes to point at all of them and tell me as we turn the pages. I think this book will give us even a lot more use out of it because there's still a lot of things she doesn't know.
My only complaints are:
1. How in the world is a baby going to figure out what a "combine tractor" and some of the really off-the-wall things are. We always skip things like that. Even the tools page has very little interest in it.
2. Some of the pictures are difficult to discern to a young child what they are. The bag of flour, the coffee, and the ice cream, to name a few.
3. I would have liked to see more animals. How about a mouse or a bunny?
Aside from those, I think this book is a must-have in any baby's board book collection.
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