I can hardly believe a better possible era existed for a person who has the talent and ability to write children’s books. With the widespread use of tablets and the ability to self-publish illustrated books for the Amazon Kindle, a doting parent or grandparent can literally take a program like Photoshop, a Wacom Tablet, and a desire to entertain a child or grandchild and turn it a side project that brings in a few spare dollars or an entire career.
Outside of these digital innovations, it seems like the reduced costs associated with producing “regular” books has led to not only extremely entertaining traditional pop-up books, but something we recently enjoyed tinkering with and customizing — a pop-up storybook that converts into a playmat featuring a 3-D farmyard complete with a movable tractor and farm animals as well as the pre-printed pets on the 3-D pop-ups which include a windmill, pens, a chicken house, and a barn.
Not only can you use something like this in the manner proscribed, but you can also take stands from old-board game pieces and make the figures even more mobile or print out scale pictures of your own little farmers, mount them on cardboard, and then slide the cardboard into the aforementioned stands and let your kids become part of the farming action.
The name of the storybook, which is an actual little farm story along the lines of “the cow goes moo,” is Playbook Farm. It is published by Nosy Crow. Author: Corina Fletcher. Illustrator: Britta Teckentrup. The same wonderful crew looks to be coming out with a pirate ship themed playmat later this year — perfect for “Talk Like a Pirate” day. Given the overall cuteness of Playbook Farm, I think we will be signing up for a voyage!