As someone who is currently working with an MLM company (Sseko Designs) and has in the past (Mary Kay), I know how it all works. You host a party, you spread the word, and you get rewards. Whenever I am invited to a MLM party, I almost always attend and even make a purchase because I love supporting other "mom-preneurs", but I rarely host an event myself because I don't want to overwhelm my circles. No one wants to be sold to.
The last party I went to, though, was for the educational book company called Usborne, and by the end of the event I had a pretty long wish list. I thought that since I love the product so much, maybe you will too, but instead of having a party, I am just going to give you my experience, some suggestions, and a link to the shop if you care to browse. How does that sound?
By the way, one of my new mom friends I met when we moved here is an Usborne consultant, and I am happy to support her business! I got to raid her Usborne stash, and she is so passionate about the company. She helped me discover so many titles that I never knew I wanted!!! ;)
First of all, I am kind of a sucker for children's books. When I go to any bookstore, I make a beeline for the children's section. I am also a fan of the library and how each week we get to read totally new books for FREE, so when it comes to buying books, I am very particular about what I choose to bring into my home for keeps. These books have to be engaging enough to want to revisit again and again.
My first experience with Usborne was at a book fair at Hunter's school a couple of years ago. They had a decent inventory of non-fiction books on display and for cash & carry, so I just grabbed a couple of books in Hunter's favorite topics at the time: trains and dinosaurs. Hunter really loved those books but he kind of outgrew them a year or so later, so I gave them away. Then recently a friend invited me to her friend's online Usborne party and I got hooked. I finally sat down to look at their website, and there are so many interesting titles for a wide range of ages!
To be honest, I am not crazy about ALL of their products. Some of the illustrations and graphics are not my favorite and other times the text does not really relate to the topic (i.e. the train book wasn't exactly about trains -- it was lift-the-flap to find the teddy bear on the train -- totally "meh"). That's why I think recommendations are key! The following are books (unless otherwise noted) I either own or saw in person and can attest to their quality.
For infants and young toddlers: Anything with lift-the-flaps! Paloma has the Fingertrail Playbook Cats and Dogs that features lift-the-flaps, touchy-feely patches, and fingertrails. I also have my eye on the Slide and See Farm. Beware, these books don't have a story or rhyme, but I like them because we can sit and interact with the book in a way that engages her more than a storyline. Although I haven't seen it in person, this boxed set of Little Artists books sounds cute!
For preschoolers: A cute, interactive book I ordered for Hunter (pictured) is called There's A Mouse About the House. We can never read this book just once. Usborne activity books are really great, too. I bought Hunter the maze book, but he finished all the mazes in one sitting. Luckily he still likes to "read through" this book and retrace each path, but we would have been much better off with this Wipe Clean Mazes book. (For a video overview of their activity books for all ages, click here.)
For early elementary: The Shine-a-Light books are so fun! You shine a flashlight through the page and "secrets" are revealed. The Shine-a-Light Secrets of Our Earth is definitely on my wish list. As a school teacher, I was really impressed with the Very First Reading Set, which is an amazing tool for working with your child on her journey to independent reading. See how it works in this video.
For late elementary: Lovers of the Where's Waldo? books, will appreciate Where's Will? in which you can find William Shakespeare hidden in scenes from his plays. So fun! Recommended for ages 10+, the Encyclopedia of World Religions is fascinating with brilliant photos and information about ancient as well as modern religions. Do you remember choose your own adventure books? Usborne offers a similar series, like this book.
What I am most impressed with, though, are their non-fiction titles. (Watch an overview here.) What is your favorite Usborne book?