Welcome To My House, A Collection of First Words

This a delightful catalogue of the most common (and some less common) items that you find in a house. You have everything for sitting on, everything that brightens, and everything for cooling down, amongst many other such headings. But it is far more than an illustrated catalogue. It has a mysterious narrator.

‘My name is Olga. Can you find me?’ And so the hunt begins and is brought to a conclusion on the last page: ‘I’m the one with the long whiskers.’ Observant readers will have noticed that we are being stalked by a handsome black cat throughout the book.

I loved the way these lists of household things had an imaginative edge. When we look at Everything For Warming Up, for example, amongst the kettles and wool socks and hot-water bottles we find Mom. On the spread dedicated to Everything That Shows Time Passing, there is a rotten apple, a photo album and a spider’s web.

The illustrations are exquisite. Hayes uses a type of screen-print finish with a lovely palette of blue and red and lime green. The objects are presented on a white background and have a retro feel. Stella’s choice of objects also nods to the past: a record player, knitting needles, and a candelabra feature prominently at different stages.

This book will be invaluable to parents whose children are beginning to speak and will be especially helpful to children struggling with word-finding issues or older children learning English as a second language. It can also be read for pure pleasure by children and adults alike.

Highly recommended.