Friday, August 8, 2008

Book Review: I Love My Babycinos!

Café culture is as much a part of life for kids these days as pushdown socks with leggings/hypercolour tshirts*/Inspector Gadget/Bubble-o-Bills were a part of our chilhood (assuming for argument’s sake you, too, were a scrunchie-wearing child of the 80’s). Katrina Thomson’s delightfully simple and fun new board book, I Love My Babycino’s, has not left my 2-year-old’s froth-covered fingers since she got it – and that is the true test of a good kid’s book. This book is in fact so special it gets it’s own post!

Babycino (bab’e-chee-no) noun
A small cup of frothy milk specifically made for children”

Babycino’s vary in their make and price from café to café, and Katrina’s book teaches children not only about the days of the week, but also about different types of ‘cino’s! “On Monday, I have a smiley face babycino…on Tuesday, a BIG frothy babycino….” right through to the best of the bunch (according to Charlotte) – “on Sunday, I have a babycino with two marshmallows”! The pictures are bright, funky and attractive, and the tough board book and rounded corners mean it can safely be chewed on when the babycino cup is empty. Soaking up café culture with your bub is a rather fabulous way to spend some quality time together, talking, reading, people-watching and most importantly giving them an important dose of dairy with their “grown-up” ‘cinos!

Katrina (Thomson, I’m not speaking about myself in third person, even for a Gemini that would be weird) reckons the best babycino has to be “at least 80% froth and definitely not hot”, and tots the world over concur with her two daughters – “it has to come with marshmallows or it’s not a babycino”! They get the best ‘cino’s at Romano’s Café in Station Street, Fairfield – the best because they tick all the boxes: they’re free when Mum buys a drink, and they come with smiley faces complete with Smartie nose and marshmallow eyes! All the coffee chains do simple, free ‘cino’s when you buy a coffee (we like Gloria Jeans because you can add all the sprinkles and stuff yourself) and any café worth the trip will whip up something special for your tots. Most will also do a Minicino, which has a shot of flavour in the milk (one of our FrockYou girls, who is 18, loves them. Ahem.)

Katrina and her girls always loved to read in cafes, so of course the obvious step was to write a book about their beloved babycinos. Due to the overwhelming response, which was happily more than she expected, Katrina has also developed the website and a competition with over $1100 worth of prizes to coincide with the book launch on August 8th! But she’s a busy lady, running the very awesome ID Tee label and of course fitting in time for café-going with her girls, so at the moment plans for a sequel (Minicino Fights Back? The Beauty of Banana Bread?) are on hold. She did however, use the old adage, “never say never”…

I give it two out of two big fluffy marshmallows – it doesn’t leave my handbag and each time we’re at a café (which is, like, everyday) we pull it out and check which sort of Babycino corresponds to the day. It’s a great learning tool and my daughter adores the pictures – the grin on her face when we read it is priceless, but if you can put a price on happiness, in this case it’s just $9.95!

Available from good bookstores, cafes, (check the website for stockists near you or to purchase) and of course you can also buy online at Frock You!)

(*which are back incidentally and perhaps not surprisingly: you guessed it, it’s the wacky kids over at American Apparel!)

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