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The world goes curly;Childrens Books

My Friend the Octopus. Teddy Bears at Night. The Funny Farmer. My Favourite Toy. Wouldn't it be Nice?

. Chocolate for Breakfast. By Julian Defries and Kenny Bolton. Perfect Fish pound;1.99 each.

A look at what is out there for beginner readers

When a pre-school four-year-old picks up a handful of books and declares she can read them, you look on with curiosity. When she reads each page almost word-for-word, with a few inventive embellishments, you scrutinise those books with added interest. This pre-reader was busy with the Perfect Fish series, a collection of six bright, illustrated, rhyming books that the publishers claim will develop listening skills in the very young, as well as complementing existing reading schemes.

Postcard-size, these books are very easy for small hands. The rhyming, humorous text, though crude at times, is well thought out in terms of word-shape and sound, and well matched to colourful pictures. The Funny Farmer, below, is particularly successful, with a quirkiness that appeals to children. This is the tale of Farmer Straightface, who lays out his fields in neat tidy rows well as his "chickens, the sheep, cows and crows" - until he bumps his head one morning and decides that his world must be made curly.

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