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Format: Board Book
Age Range: Baby, Toddler
Kid Love Factor: 3/5
Adult Sanity Factor: 2/5
The Cheerios Play Book is a bit different than most books we've reviewed. For one, it's a glorified ad campaign. I'm not the fondest of books that exist merely to sell a product and this one is more blatant than most. And two, it's not exactly a book that's going to get kids riveted on reading; there's not much of a story, per se.
That being said, what it is good for is practicing manual dexterity, counting, and imagination. Each layout in the book has an illustration and with photographic Cheerios taking the place of round objects like tires, buttons, glasses, or bubbles. There are also holes where tots can place real Cheerios (or Nutrios, or generic O cereal; shh, don't tell General Mills) to finish the pictures.
Boo's a bit of a fan. He doesn't pull the book out very often, but when he does stumble across it, he's instantly in the kitchen where he rifles through the cabinet until he finds the current box of pseudo-Cheerios to lug back with him. He'll happily dig into the box, pull out a handful, place the Cheerios in the holes, eat them, and move onto the next page. Woe betides my kitchen and living room floors if I'm not paying attention when all this occurs. Boo is all the proof physicists need to support chaos theory.
Autism Spectrum Bonus: Apart from a brief period in early neurotypical toddlerhood, this book seems to be entirely Autism Spectrum Bonus. Assuming your child likes Cheerios or another small roundish food that will fit in the holes, the book is well suited to working on fine motor skills like pincher grasping and object placement. It's also good for practicing having you child follow a proximal point as you initially direct them to the Cheerios and the holes for them. Boo's been making progress in recognizing that small shapes, in this case circles, can make up parts of a larger whole. We're also using it to help introduce counting to Boo; he can already recite an impressive length of numbers (with a few logical errors like twenty-ten following twenty-nine) and can identify the first 25 or so by symbol before he starts getting confused, but he's still not quite making the link that OOOO is four objects, though he can now reliably recognize O, OO, and OOO as one, two, and three, respectively.
We just use the book casually when Boo shows interest, but I can see it being useful in more formalized therapies as well.
It's an ad, but if you can overlook that, it's a useful one.
The Cheerios Play Book (Canada)
The Cheerios Play Book (USA)