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Feels Real! Dinosaurs / Feels Real! Mini Beasts (Board Books) Review by Donna Campos

Barron's Educational Series, Inc.
250 Wireless Blvd.
Hauppauge, NY 11788

The Dinosaurs and Mini Beasts board books are each 10 pages long with a cut-out space on the front cover that allows the first "Feels Real!" surface to show through. Each book has five "Feels Real!" surfaces, one on each right hand page. Every two-page spread features a different animal or insect and has a sentence or two of text. Designed for very young children, the board pages are very sturdy. The Dinosaurs book features Tyrannosaurus Rex, Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Pteranodon, and Brachiosaurus. The Mini Beasts book includes a ladybug, caterpillar, butterfly, snail, and dragonfly. There are other books in the "Feels Real!" series that include a multitude of different animals.

Both books include true-to-life pictures that are very detailed. Each "Feels Real" surface is part of a large close-up picture displayed on a habitat background, and there is a smaller picture of the animal on the left. The touchable surfaces are adequate representations for toddler age groups, although the dinosaur surfaces were mostly similar. The snail surface in the Mini Beasts book was sticky, which made us wonder whether it would stay sticky with regular use. However, after multiple readings, we had not lost the sticky effect. One caution: the ladybug page includes the instruction "Feel the hard ladybug!" This may prompt an especially curious child to squish a few real ladybugs.

These books would be nice additions for a family library. The pictures are vibrant, and the close-ups are filled with details to be pointed out. With text that is short and to the point, the books are easily read to small children. Our toddler enjoyed these books, as did our eight-year-old. Our eight-year-old even sought out additional books about butterflies and ladybugs after sitting in on a few readings. The "Feels Real!" books will be welcome additions for those who want to instill a sense of wonder and curiosity in young children.

Product review by Donna Campos, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2007