Title: All Around Me: A First Book of Childhood
Author: Shirley Hughes
Illustrator: Shirley Hughes
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Children’s picture book
Book format: Hardback
Sweet Strawberries:  Sweet StrawberrySweet StrawberrySweet StrawberrySweet StrawberrySweet Strawberry

Description:  Colours, shapes and sizes, sounds, opposites and numbers – there are so many things for Olly and Kate to learn about on their first adventures. From counting in the park with Grandpa to crossing and stopping at the road with Mum, or even the sound of Dad vacuuming, this beautifully illustrated collection is a gentle introduction to childhood experiences and celebrates the joy of everyday family life.

*Free copy provided by publisher for review…

Review:  This is a lovely picture book all about the different things children experience and gives them plenty of opportunities to learn while having fun. ‘All Around Me: A First Book of Childhood’ is about A4 in size and currently in hardback it has a removable dust jacket that hides some lovely and different artwork underneath (which I always love about hardback books with dust jackets!). Inside the book is filled with thick glossy pages of colourful illustrations and some text.

All Around Me under dust jacket image
©The Strawberry Post – under the dust jacket!

The book is arranged into different sections: opposites, counting, colours, all shapes and sizes, sounds. Each section begins with a little activity for children to try, such as finding the opposite images on the page before the main ‘story’ in which we follow Katie and her family as we see the opposites in their day (bathwater hot, seawater cold, etc.); count upwards to ten all the things Katie sees when she’s on a day out with her Grandpa; talk about the different shades and colours of everyday things you can see; look at the different shapes different objects have; and finally, a short section mentioning the sounds lots of different things make.
Each of these sections is like its own seperate book and indeed at the start of the book it does state that this was first published as different books so if you are a fan of Shirley Hughes work and own most of her books then it’s likely you’ve seen these before, but for someone like me who hasn’t read a lot of her older books, this really is a great book to get.

All Around Me book page image one
©The Strawberry Post

I love the different sections and how fun they all are. Almost every section rhymes making it more fun to read and easy to remember and learn the different things that you see. I also love how the things mentioned are things that children are used to seeing in their everyday lives, such as their cat and dog, or the sound of a vacuum cleaner. In the counting section children can enjoy counting along in each image (as well as reading that there are x amount of this thing), as all the different things appear clearly visible in each image and I just love the detail of all the illustrations.

All Around Me book page image two
©The Strawberry Post

The pictures really make this book so fun, I love how everyone looks and I’ve really grown to enjoy Shirley Hughes’ illustration style. Every image can be looked at again and again and I love how there is that detail that makes you enjoy looking at each picture. Seeing things like the diferent children playing together or the way the babies look in their prams with one asleep while others are moving, I just love the way real-life things can be looked at with such interest from a child’s perspective.

All Around Me book page image three
©The Strawberry Post

I think I’ve preferred this book to a lot of other Shirley Hughes books I’ve read, as a lot of it also rhymes making it that much more fun. I think children will really enjoy looking at this book and there’s a lot of opportunities for them to interact with the different images on each page (like counting along) and the additional fun little exercises at the start of each section. If you’re new to Shirley Hughes or if you want to have some of her previous books in a sort of compilation (I’m not sure how much of this, if anything, is new) then I’d definitely recommend this book. It just feels so fun and I can imagine really enjoying looking at this myself back when I was a child!


Do you like this book?  What other picture books do you enjoy?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂