The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

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Pretty Village Series Review by Jenny Underwood

Created by the McLoughlin Brothers
Applewood Books
1 River Road
Carlisle, MA, 01741

We were blessed with reviewing three books from the Pretty Village Series this summer. We received Friendship Boat Club, School House, and Gambrel House. These are hardback board style books with the building inside on the pages ready to be popped out and assembled. Characters are also included! 

Each book has a good, durable quality. I did have some trouble getting all the characters out without accidentally ripping anything. My preference would be a slightly heavier cardstock with my younger children for durability however with my older son that was not an issue at all. It is a good idea to put these where little hands cannot reach them because they do not withstand a two-year-old! My three older children ages nine, six, and three loved these!

The buildings must be assembled and have slotted tabs that fit together. After the building is assembled the book opens flat for it to sit on and provides a yard or water (in the case of the Boat Club). We did have some trouble with the book lying flat enough for playing on with the characters. Each book also tells some history of the included building.

Play characters are included for your children and have a little stand for stability. These are fashioned after the paper doll style so do be prepared for some tearing if they play very much. I plan to glue all of these onto a heavier poster board. Friendship Boat Club included boats and children. The boats have stands also. School House has children and a few adults. Gambrel House has a mix of adults, children, and a dog.

All these houses and characters are from the 1800s. Included in each book is a membership card. These are perfect for studying living history with your children. We had fun discussions and my children thoroughly enjoyed these. We have plans to put these out as part of our Christmas village this year, decorated for Christmas!

Each of my children had their favorite. Jake (nine) loved the Boat Club. His younger six-old brother did also! Lilly age three loved the Gambrel House and they all arranged their buildings together to form a community. They were able to use their characters interchangeably though naturally, some arguments arose as they all loved the dog character.

No glue or scissors are needed however it is quite handy to tape the seams of the buildings if you wish to leave them assembled. If you want them easily stored (and everything does store flat) then do not tape the seams. 

Each of these three books is available for $9.95 and would make excellent gifts for any younger children in your life. I also think these would make excellent road trip presents and will keep the child occupied for many hours!

-Product review by Jenny Underwood, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October 2020