Top That! Publishing is an award-winning, independent book publisher based in Suffolk, UK. I applied to be a reviewer for them because I like that they are working in both traditional printed media and more modern eBook and interactive formats. They have published over 2000 titles in the UK, and cater for all audiences, from pre-school to adult. I am delighted to have been selected as one of their “Yummy Mummy” (their words, not mine!) reviewers, and over the coming months will be bringing you reviews of a selection of their catalogue.
We received our first delivery from them a few weeks ago, with a couple of books for the geekdaughter – Milly the Meerkat and When I Dream of ABC.
Milly the Meerkat is a re-telling of the classic Aesop’s fable of the boy who cried wolf. Whilst on lookout duty, Milly gets bored and decides to play a trick on the other meerkats to amuse herself. But when Milly needs help, she learns an important lesson.
This book has very quickly become a firm favourite in our house, and the geekdaughter was quite put out what I wanted to take it back from her this evening to refer to whilst writing this review! It’s a nice large format book, the perfect length for a bedtime story. The text is clear, large, and easy to read, and the illustrations that span the full two-page spread are simply beautiful. The story moves quickly and keeps the interest.
It is the geekdaddy’s opinion that the story is a little too” nice” in places – (*spoiler alert*) he maintains that it is not realistic that the snake would just scare off the baby meerkats rather than eating them, but I must say that didn’t bother me at all.
When I Dream of ABC is not your average ABC book. It claims on the back cover that it will “take children on a magical journey of discovery and will help them to learn the alphabet as they meet the inhabitants of an enchanted dreamworld”. Starting from “A is for Angel” the book takes you on a trip through the alphabet, winding up at “Z is for Zoo”. Each letter has a double-page spread, with a little description of the letter on one side, and a beautifully drawn full page illustration on the other.
The book contains a rather eclectic mix of things chosen to illustrate the letters. Some are definitely the stuff of dreams (M is for Mermaid, U is for Unicorn, V is for Vampire), whereas as some are a lot more mundane (N is for Nurse, K is for Kite). It must be said, however, that is more likely to bother the adult readers than toddler or pre-schooler audiences. Each word has an amusing paragraph of information for you – for example did you know that vampires are so pale because they don’t eat their greens? It’s all pitched very nicely so that children will enjoy the definitions, but adults will see a little humour in them too.
This book is what the geekdaddy and I would call a “daytime” book. We’d tend to not use it as a bedtime story simply because it is a book that encourages discussion and concentration, rather than being a “close your eyes and listen to the story” kind of a book, and we prefer not to do that kind of thing when we’re trying to encourage the geekdaughter to calm down and get ready to sleep! It’s also a book that the geekdaughter loves to get out by herself – she enjoys flicking through the pages and looking at the pictures.
When I Dream of ABC retails for £6.99, and again is available directly from Top That Publishing, or through Amazon.co.uk, or from your favourite book retailer. It is also available in eBook (PDF) format for £1.79.
Both books are excellent quality, beautifully produced, and a great addition to any toddler/pre-schooler’s library.
Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of each book in order to produce this review. The opinions stated are my own. The Amazon links within this post contain my affiliate code – if you make a purchase after clicking on I will receive a very small commission payment.