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Blue Manatee Press’s flagship series, written by Hutton, features seven Baby Unplugged™ board-format books: Ball, Beach, Blanket, Book, Box, Pets, and Yard. Using happy images and simple, rhyming text, each encourages children to discover the joy that results from exploring the real world, meeting real people, and engaging in real experiences. Characters shown are active and engaged; and book concepts are rooted in multi-sensorial exploration and how developing brains work. Blue Manatee Press’s new Toast to Baby™ series and its inaugural title, Toast To Counting by artists Sandra Gross and Leah Busch, presents basic concepts in fun, surprising ways via the medium of cast glass. Here counting takes place via construction of a toast face using various delicious elements.
“It’s incredible that we have to remind people to reconnect with the real world,” says Hutton. “But that’s exactly what’s needed. It’s a constant battle; one we can easily lose given the unprecedented pace of technological change. There are few things more tempting for stressed parents than to calm children with video screens – tv shows, computer games and ‘smart baby’ apps. Thus the world is increasingly ‘virtualized’ from an ever-younger age, where it’s easier to watch a character entertain you, than to be physically active, engaged with others, and creating your own fun. This is amplified by frequent ‘educational’ marketing claims of companies implying technology isn’t just enchanting for babies, it’s necessary. However, it’s been shown that children learn dramatically less from video screens than the real world. Real-world experiences are critical during sensitive developmental stages. Play and engagement are vital nutrients. Excessive screen media is a major reason we’re fighting childhood obesity, attention, sleep, and learning problems. And prevention is key, staying as unplugged as possible during those first years while embracing fun, healthy alternatives.”