This week I’m going to be sharing a series of product reviews from Timberdoodle. Each one is a great off-screen entertainment gift idea, appropriate for a wide range of ages. Even if you aren’t homeschooling or don’t have little kids at home, you’re sure to find something unique for that hard-to-buy for person on your shopping list!

First, up: Wimmelbooks!

What in the world is a wimmelbook?

I’m so glad you asked! Because I didn’t know either, and now I don’t feel so stupid since you were wondering, too.

Wikipedia tells me it’s derived from a German word, wimmelbilderbuch, that literally means “teeming picture book.” Now do you understand?

Sure, you do! Think of Richard Scarry books, Where’s Waldo?, I Spy, and the Look and Find series. Those are all “wimmelbooks” and kids love ’em! Even today’s kids can be drawn away from screens to pore over these richly visual picture books.

My Big Wimmelbook

We had books from all of the series I just mentioned, and then some, when my girls were little. But in recent years Timberdoodle has introduced me to a new series that I like even more than any of the previous ones. They provided 3 titles from My Big Wimmelbook series in exchange for my review.

I am thrilled to have them on my bookshelf for young visitors… and to be honest, I’ve even found myself studying the busy pictures for longer than I’d care to admit! The recommended age range of 2-5 could definitely be stretched up another 5… or, ahem, 50 years!

So… why do I like these better than previous series?

Well, first of all, the pictures are absolutely darling… including a diverse cast of characters… men, women, children of all ages, grandmas and grandpas, workers in a variety of fields, and lots and lots of kid-pleasing animals and vehicles.

They are also super-sturdy with board-book style pages. Perfect for keeping handy in the car or tote bag when you need something besides an ipad or smartphone to occupy your little wiggler.

My favorite feature, though is the welcome page in each book which introduces you to a variety of friends you’ll be encountering on each page.

After that, there are no words. Your child gets to make up the story based on the pictures. Do you remember doing that before you learned how to read words? I do! It’s an important pre-reading skill.

Laura, who was my little girl once-upon-a-time, is now a manager at Domino’s. She stopped by while I was writing this post so I asked her to help me with the review.

The Story of Antonio

Antonio is a pizza delivery driver in the Cars and Things That Go book.

“Pizza Hut?!?” Laura exclaimed. “No, no, no! It can’t be Pizza Hut!”

“It’s not Pizza Hut,” I assured her. “It just says ‘Pizza.'”

“No, that’s clearly Pizza Hut!” she insisted.

“Never mind that,” I said. “Let’s just help him get his pizza delivered.”

First, he offers it to the construction workers. They have hamburgers and hotdogs for lunch, so they decline.

(Notice Lucky making off with one of the hotdogs. The welcome page says he is always hungry.)

On the next page Antonio offers his pizza to Jerry at the Garage. Jerry declines because his neighbors, Michael and Aaliyah, are grilling hotdogs.

(The welcome page tells us that Michael loves everything with stripes and Aaliyah loves stars. And there’s that hungry Lucky making off with another hotdog!)

We couldn’t figure out why this mom didn’t want any pizza since her little boy dropped his hotdog. Maybe he doesn’t get pizza because he’s having a temper tantrum? Or maybe he’s lactose intolerant? That’s probably it.

By now Laura is fussing. “Mom! Antonio can’t try to deliver the same pizza to all these different people! That wouldn’t be allowed!”

“Just hang tight,” I told her. “We’ll see how the story plays out.”

(She used to interrupt me in the middle of stories when she was little, too, arguing about something happening in the story.)

This chubby VIP dude in his inflatable pool doesn’t care for pizza today. He has potato chips and Kool-aid… and his rubber ducky.

Now where is Antonio going? I think he got lost! That happens to pizza delivery guys, you know. There’s nothing but a barn at the end of that road.

“That pizza is getting cold!” Laura mumbles.

Never mind. The day is over so Antonio takes his cold pizza and eats it himself at a picnic table at the beach.

(And Lucky’s on at least his sixth hotdog by now.)

That concludes today’s version of Antonio’s story (with a side story about Lucky). Next time we “read” this book we can choose a different character and make up a different story.

My Thoughts

I highly recommend the My Big Wimmelbook series for any little pre-readers in your life. With multiple characters and storylines in three different books it would take awhile for a child to get tired of looking at them.

This is the racetrack page in the Cars and Things That Go book. Can you find Antonio in the picture? Hint: It’s the part of the story where the little boy has dropped his hotdog.

My favorite of the Wimmelbooks we reviewed is Cars and Things That Go, because we love road trips. I can imagine little boys loving At the Construction Site best, and On the Farm would have been a big hit with Rebecca, my other once-a-little girl. Timberdoodle also carries a fourth title: Fire Trucks! which would especially be of interest if you have any first responders in the family.

Stay tuned for more fun reviews of fabulous Timberdoodle products all week long. Also, check out my previous Timberdoodle reviews for more great gift ideas!

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