F is for fun;Early Years;Books

23rd May 1997 at 01:00
Alphabats Collection. 26 board books, Frieze, Teacher's resource book,Photocopiable worksheets. Ginn, pound;79 plus VAT

I've always had reservations about certain formal aspects of primary education being peddled on the basis of fun. The classroom equivalent of Prunes are Fun. There are some things that simply don't possess an inherent fun factor.

Now I am forced to eat both my prunes and my reservations. Paul Sellers' lively drawings of different letters of the alphabet are genuinely amusing in a way that is slightly anarchic and has great appeal to young children.

The frieze demonstrates both upper and lower case letters and presents a clear and colourful resource which is attractive and well made. I have trialled a number of the board books for over a year and they have stoutly resisted much infant handling.

Barbara Tyler, Stuart Trotter and Gill Munton have devised a set of clear and comprehensive materials in the teacher's resource book and photocopiable worksheets.

Although necessarily structured, they avoid both the whiff of didacticism and cloying tweeness. They suggest a range of supporting activities that are imaginative and go well beyond the usual banal demands of colouring-in activities, although this is a dimension where the children could perhaps have been given more choice.

These are quality resources, a fact reflected in the price, but well worth considering for the value they represent.

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