Review by Annabelle Lee
The I’m Ready series by Puffin Books, illustrated by Jedda Robaard contains four titles, I’m Ready for Christmas, I’m Ready for the New Baby, I’m Ready for Pre-School and I’m Ready for Easter. Printed as sturdy board books in full bright color these are for 3-4 year olds. Each book features Australian native animals and is written for an Australian audience, with mentions of the warm summer weather at Christmas and the autumn changes at Easter. Given most children’s books portray a white Christmas, this is a definite plus for young Aussie kids.
For this review I had copies of I’m Ready for the New Baby and I’m Ready for Easter, and so my review pertains specifically to these titles.
These are beautifully presented books. The illustrations are colorful, clear and cute as heck. They strike the perfect balance visually of being neither too simple nor overwhelming. Any small child will find the pages delightful and engaging. It’s lovely to see I’m Ready for Easter features of most typical Australian traditions including hot cross buns, an Easter hat parade and an egg hunt with family. There is no religious content.
In I’m Ready for the New Baby we see a little girl prepare to meet her new baby brother. It includes subtle but important mentions of preparing to share with a sibling, and mummy being tired post-birth, which is a nice element parents can emphasize as needed! The biggest downside of this title is the gender specific characters. The main character is very much a girl, and the mention of a baby brother are frequent. For little ones preparing for a new sibling by reading stories they relate to, this could be a barrier if their gender circumstances don’t match.
These books don’t identify an author, only “text copyright to Penguin Random House Australia”. The text is simple and clear, but it doesn’t utilize rhyme, rhythm or repetition — the cornerstones of young audience engagement. As such, despite being very sweet and beautiful, they fall short of their potential. If only they had engaged a children’s author for the project.
The I’m Ready Puffin Book series is very sweet and beautiful, and caters specifically to an Australian audience. The visual and aesthetic elements of these books are perfect for 3 to 4 year olds. Although the text is simple and conveys the message of the books, it could have gone to the next level with more creative use of the script.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Imprint: Puffin (Penguin Random House Australia)
Format: Hardcover board books, 14 pages each book