Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Begin Smart Books

Begin Smart Books is a developmental program aimed at children from birth to three years. The program is leveled by age and ability and color-coded to help parents, grandparents, caregivers, and early educators find just the right books.

A variety of interactive formats at each level engage babies with touch-and-feel elements, flaps to lift, embossed images to trace with fingers, and removable play pieces.

Publisher and former reading teacher Harriet Ziefert has developed the Begin Smart titles to engage babies on multiple levels. “Teaching an infant the alphabet or how to count from one to ten is not appropriate and the idea of making an age classification of ‘0 to 3 years’ on a book is far too sweeping. I have always believed that less is more and when you create a book for a baby, you have to be courageous enough to leave things out.”

“Togetherness” is a key aspect of Begin Smart’s philosophy. Simple pictures in the books enable parents to make up their own words and stories based on experiences they’ve shared with their babies. “Reading is a game for two players and babies make perfect game partners. They point and pat and name, and books make all kinds of conversations possible,” says Ziefert. To this end, each Begin Smart title includes a note to parents suggesting ways in which they can talk about the book with their children, and a dedicated website contains additional tips, reviews, and information on the newest titles at: www.beginsmartbooks.com