Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Interactive Books

Picture books are inherently interactive.  The text and pictures combine to create a story that children can linger over.  But there are books out there that invite active participation.  Remember pop-up books?  I loved the pull-tabs and the elaborate spreads that fanned out over the pages.  Unfortunately, pop-up books are not really preschooler friendly.  I've repaired enough flaps torn off from lift-the-flap books to know that I need to keep my treasured pop-ups hidden, on a high shelf,  until my boys are, well, probably 18!  Interactive books have moved beyond traditional pop-ups and lift-the-flaps.  There are books that ask readers to look closely, follow directions, and use their senses.  If you are looking for a holiday gift book that will encourage play, here are some of my favorites:
Press Here by Hervé Tullet - This unique French import is not a story.  Rather it is a set of directions for the reader to follow, which in turn (literally, in turning the page), makes the primary-colored dots that populate this book, react.  In the age of iPads and other touch screen devices, this book may seem old-fashioned, but the perceived movement of the dots by the reader lends itself more to imaginative play. 

And while I haven't gotten my hands on it, Tullet's interactive adventure The Book with a Hole, sounds just as intriguing.  From "The Book with a Hole blasts a hole through the middle of the book itself.  Sometimes the hole is an eye the reader can look through; sometimes it is a mouth and the reader's fingers make the teeth!  The next minute it is a plate (with food drawn by the reader on a sheet of paper behind the book), an obstacle to jump across, or a saucepan.  It's crazy!  It's a Book with a Hole!" (Ages 2+)

Peek-a-Moo! and Peek-a-Zoo! by Marie Torres Cimarusti; Illustrated by Stephanie Peterson - For the toddlers in your life, I highly recommend these books which feature huge lift-flaps on each page.  These books teach animal sounds while involving the reader in a game of barnyard or zoo peek-a-boo.  Both bring the game back to the child at the end with: "Guess who? What do you say?" (Ages 2+)
Heads and Tails by Matthew Van Fleet - These two books, filled with rhyme, tabs, and terrific textures,  invite the reader to play, while learning a bit about animal heads and tails.  In Heads, all the animals are named in a large fold-out page at the end, so it is a great reference.  The end of Tails parallels the first book by bringing in the same animal at the end, but Van Fleet adds on with a re-read activity, inviting the reader to go back and find 1 skunk, 2 tigers, ..., 10 pigs.  Be ready to use your senses (if you are brave enough to scratch & sniff a skunk)! (Ages 2+)

Look!  A Book! A Zany Seek-and-Find Adventure by Bob Staake - Remember Where's Waldo?  This fun, interactive book is reminiscent of finding that fun-loving guy in the red and white striped shirt in the midst of chaos. Staake draws the reader's attention to pieces of a larger spread by cutting literal holes in the page.  Turn the page and you see the big picture. The rhyme asks the reader to find a specific item.  In searching is the fun, as readers/observers delve into a themed illustration full of the expected and unexpected.  Pages include Things That Go and Treetop Town(Ages 3+)
Can You See What I See? series by Walter Wick - Walter Wick is a masterful photographer, creating scenes around themes and using that photograph to illustrate a puzzle rhyme that has the reader eagerly scouring the picture to find all the hidden objects.  Trucks and Cars (Ages 2+) was a hit with my boys.  Once Upon a Time: Picture Puzzles to Search and Solve (Ages 6+) has gorgeous spreads of different fairy tales.  Wick has also collaborated with Jean Marzollo on the popular I Spy series.
Zoom by Istvan Banyai - This exquisite wordless picture book is not what it seems. A picture within a picture, Banyai uses each spread to draw the eye further out.  The book jacket says it best: "Just when you think you know where you are, guess again.  Nothing is as it seems."  Zoom! (Ages 5+)


  1. These books seem really interactive in this interactive season/year. Thanks for posting these great books. :)