The First Thousand Words

The First Thousand Words is a book which has been in my family for decades, all of my brothers and sisters grew up with it. You can usually find a secondhand copy of the older editions for a tiny amount.

What’s so great about these early editions is the number of people doing really stupid and naughty things.  Not only is the book funny, but it provides so many opportunities for talking about all kinds of behaviour, good, bad and dangerous. I think it’s one of our most valuable educational tools.

A Chance Recording

There was a lovely moment I’ve included here which I happened to record one morning. I’m often uploading short films of the grandchildren to keep my parents and the in-laws happy until the next visit.

The thing whole thing happened naturally… my daughter came over and put the book beside me, just as I had my phone in my hand. I’m not really as animated with her as much as I would be normally, I had a baby in my arms and it was early morning, but I thought it would give a taste of how we interact with this book.

The First Thousand Words

This book has become one of Osborne’s most popular books and has been translated into many languages. Unfortunately, The First Thousand Words seems to have lost some of its early charm as it has been updated over the years. The drawings have been simplified and although they have introduced new items and removed older objects like record players… some of the essential character has also disappeared. (AND EVERY CHILD SHOULD KNOW WHAT A RECORD PLAYER LOOKS LIKE!)

The thing about this book is that it’s do dense, there’s so much happening on every page, there’s never a boring moment. As a parent, you can introduce all kinds of storylines and subtexts. I have a lot of fun providing narratives to the situations. There are pages dedicated to the house, the kitchen, the workshop, the garden… there are essentials like the park, the supermarket and a party. A predecessor to Where’s Wally, there’s a little plastic duck to be found in every drawing… some of them quite hard to find… and there are really useful pages of animals, body parts, feelings, jobs, hobbies… this list goes on. The way they’ve organised sections with numbers means that you can cover them with your hands and reveal one image at a time to assist with counting, children love doing that.

This is such a comprehensive book and so much fun, I highly recommend it to anyone who wants an excellent way to interact with their child in a truly educational way.

The First Thousand Words by Heather Amery and Stephen Cartwright. Cover of this excellent children's book.