Gems for the ears

4th September 1998 at 01:00
Some stories are like jewellery. You want to run them through your fingers over and over again. If you are a child and have your own tape player, you can dream to the sound of your favourite stories while flicking through the pages of the books.

Tellastory has produced some beautiful book-and-tape packages (at Pounds 4.99 each). The tale of David McKee's rainbow-coloured elephant, Elmer, is read in a suitably rich baritone by Joss Ackland. Although the accompanying book has only one of the four stories on the 30-minute tape, this is still a glorious addition to the tape library of the under-five child.

Shirley Hughes's well-loved Dogger again includes only the first of the stories in book form, though Hughes's lovingly detailed drawings of boy and stuffed toy provide lots to look at during readings of two more Dogger stories. Dogger, Dave's fave cuddly toy, goes missing - but don't worry, it gets sorted out pretty quickly and so do two more adventures in the 20 minutes of the tape, read by Kevin Whately.

Nice enough to be presents, not too fancy to be thoroughly child-handled and mauled, these sets are an excellent investment for two to six-year-olds.

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