Play School: The Useful Book illustrated by Jedda Robaard
ABC Books, 2016. ISBN 9780733334016
(Ages: 3-6) It is 50 years since Play School first went to air and 37 years since the first edition of The Useful Book. Times may have changed, but Play School is still a program beloved by children and parents around the country and The Useful Book is just as relevant: filled with ideas for play using common household items. The book is aimed at parents of preschool children, but some older children will also enjoy flicking through and picking out craft and cooking activities. This book will appeal to parents who struggle to think of creative activities to do with their children and don't know many songs or nursery rhymes, as well as those just looking for fresh ideas for a rainy day. The book has pictures, but they are in black and white, so will not appeal greatly to young children. There are some activities suitable for children from one year of age, but most suit three and four year olds, who will enjoy flicking through with a parent, singing and finding creative play ideas. The text itself talks directly to parents and gives ideas about what things children may be able to do independently. Although it sometimes mentions the educational aspects of the activities, it mainly focuses on children's enjoyment, which is refreshing. Perfect for big and little Play School fans.