REVIEW: Bluey Book Series (Part One)

Bluey keeps going from strength to strength with their recent released board book collection. Released in print for the first time in November 2019, the creators of the Bluey books have proven that they are not messing around with this much-loved series. After a long wait for merchandise to release, Penguin Random House Australia have released three very different, and out of the box books for readers of all ages. While their books are innovative in design and production (glow-in-the-dark etc) they have not compromised the narrative or characters either.

Random House Australia took a massive risk with the creation of the Bluey book series. Although, its well documented how well this iconic series is loved, the care and thought the creators have placed into this book series, at the cost of a longer production period (demand was high MONTHS before release), is simple astounding. Rather than releasing two standard narratives and one sticker book, the team behind BLUEY the books has crafted a unique series of books that is vastly different from everything else on the market. Not one of the books released is designed quite like the other:

Bluey: The Beach is a lift-the-flap narrative, actively asking the reader to partake in the telling of the story.

While Bluey: Fruit Bat has inventively incorporated glow-in-the-dark elements creating a narrative that is tactile in touch (the glow elements are raised), but  awe-inspiring to its readers with the surprise element of light and glowing elements. I for one, can not think of another book quite like Fruit Bat on the market at present.

Then Bluey: Time To Play! (A sticker activity book) is so much more than a standard sticker book as its allows its readers to actively tell their own stories with Bluey, Bingo, Mum and Dad.

With the creation of these unique elements and carefully crafted Bluey Series, I can’t wait to see where Penguin Random House plans to go next. They have set the bar exceptionally high with this series, not only for the longevity of the series itself, but for a whole new standard of children’s board books and the possibilities they can unlock. It’s kind of a game changer. As someone with no previous experience with the Bluey series as a whole (the original Television series), I’m kind of astounded by what has been achieved (and to such high standards) and what it could mean for the future.

Published: 5th November 2019

Publisher: Penguin Random House Australia

Pages: 16

Format: Soft cover sticker book (ARC supplied by the publisher for review. All opinions are my own).

RRP: $9.99

4/5 Stars

Have fun with BLUEY and Bingo as they play their favourite games. 

There are stickers to place, puzzles to solve and much more!

As someone with no previous experience with the Bluey universe (ie. The hit television series), I highly recommend you start with the sticker book. Why? Because the very first page includes a “Meet the Hellers” sticker introduction page, where they explain the characters – Bluey, Bingo, Mum (Chilli) and Dad (Bandit) – and the Brisbane setting. Until reading this information, I was so sure Bluey was a boy, and was quite surprised to learn that Bluey and Bingo are both girls. I loved that, because so many of the books that instantly come to mind that feature dogs as the main characters, are male. It’s just refreshing.

The team have tried their hardest to make  Bluey: A Time to Play! a unique experience  compared to other sticker activity books on the market. While most sticker activity books are short, featuring a few stickers and colouring pages, with the odd activity,  Bluey: A Time to Play! is packed full of endless activities. The book itself is user-friendly, with the stickers being grouped by page and labelled as such (“use these stickers on page 8”) making the book accessible to all ages. In fact, unlike many sticker activities books,  Bluey: A Time to Play!  appears to have been designed with younger kids in mind, keeping the intended audience age in line with the books characters (Bluey is 6, Bingo is 4).

All in all, Bluey: A Time to Play! Is a great addition to the already hit line of books released in the first wave of Bluey merchandise. Its ideal for new fans seeking an introduction, or much-loved fans who are looking for more involvement than simply reading the books for the hundredth time.

To purchase a copy of Bluey: A Time To Play! visit the following online retailers:

Penguin Random House Australia | Angus & Robertson | Big W | Booktopia | QBD

 

Published: 5th November 2019

Publisher: Penguin Random House Australia

Pages: 24

Format: Board Book (ARC supplied by publisher for review. All opinions are my own).

RRP: $14.99

4/5 Stars

In full disclosure, I’ve never watched an episode of the hit-television series BLUEY. I first heard about the series from customers at work who begun to hound me for information on the books months prior to their release.

Upon first picking the book up and reading through it, I was instantly blown away. Not only is the narrative text well presented (no more than roughly four lines per page, and cleverly placed across the page to engage the reader in every aspect of the story) but the bold cartoon illustrations are vibrant and pull the reader in right from the very first page. Each page should feel as sudden assault to the readers sensors with how bright the colours used are, and how they are contrasted against the textured patterns of some of the backgrounds (think lines, swirls, patterns etc), and yet, it somehow just effortlessly works so well together.

The lift-the-flap element gives the book another later of intrigue and tactile involvement, as readers are actively participating in the story. Although lift-the-flap elements are nothing new, it’s interesting to note that they are always childhood favourites, but are elements used sparingly alongside big name characters like Spot and Peppa Pig. While widely popular, I was still surprised to find this element in the book, but loved the surprise none-the-less.

To purchase a copy of Bluey: The Beach, visit the following online retailers:

Penguin Random House Australia | Angus & Robertson  | Big W | Booktopia | QBD |

 

Published: 5th November 2019

Publisher: Penguin Random House Australia

Pages: 24

Format: Board board (ARC supplied by the publishers for review. All opinions are my own.)

RRP: $14.99

4/5 Stars

Join BLUEY on a dreamy night-time adventure. What will you see in the dark?

In Bluey: Fruit Bat we have many of the same features that made Bluey: The Beach such a hit – bold, vibrant cartoon illustrations placed against equally bold backgrounds, featuring the much loved Bluey characters from the hit children’s television series -, this book pushes the boundaries that little bit more by incorporating glow-in-the-dark elements.

By using clusters of stars and the broken lines as glow in the dark elements, Bluey: Fruit Bat has added another layer to board books that I don’t think previously existed. (At least, I can’t recall glowing elements being used since The Not So Scary Ghost paperback from MY childhood). With the glowing elements being raised slightly, it gives the book a tactical element that has proven endlessly popular with the That’s Not My series, but it’s also added an additional layer of light and surprise. Although we know the book features glow-in-the-dark elements from the cover, its still kind of surprising and fun to find it mixed through the story. It’s sure to have kids ohh-ing and ahh-ing as they giggle with delight when the story transforms before their very eyes.

In terms of the narrative, Bluey: Fruit Bat is a sweet tale about the power of one’s imagination. About families, dreams, responsibilities and possibilities. It’s a fun, quirky, and imaginative tale about what it would be like if Bluey didn’t have to go to bed a night and instead, she was a fruit bat. Full of adventure and endless possibility its a feel good story that is sure to enthrall.

What I think I like the most about the Bluey books is the way their messages aren’t necessarily subtle, but they are never preachy or judgmental in tone. The narratives are gentle, fun-loving and warm. Promoting good old-fashioned family fun, in a modern environment.

In my experience as a bookseller, I find it’s this Bluey book that is often overlooked out of the three original books released*. The beach is fun, an obvious hit for Australians during Summer, while Fruit Bats are a bit more mysterious and other. Out of the two board books though, I thoroughly enjoined this one and wished more readers would pick it up. It’s an underrated gem, that needs so much more appreciation and love!

*note: this book is still incredible popular, it’s just an underrated gem compared to the other two.

 

To purchase a copy of Bluey: Fruit Bat, visit the following online retailers:

Penguin Random House Australia | ANGUS & ROBERTSON | Big W | Booktopia | QBD 

2 thoughts on “REVIEW: Bluey Book Series (Part One)

  1. Ally says:

    I keep seeing Bluey everywhere but sadly have never actually stopped to check out the show or books. I’ll definitely have a look now!

    • Jess says:

      We’re not the intended audience, so I never looked into it at all. I was pleasantly surprised by the books, and while I still haven’t watched the show, t’s something I will check out at some point.

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