Here is part 2 of some of the best interactive books for young children. These beautifully designed books invite kids to paint them (with water), pull out elements, tap or bang on them, take control of the story, examine them with “magic” viewfinders, take a microbe from the book on an adventure, and more. Suitable for toddlers and preschoolers (and up!). Find part 1 of this list here.
What’s That Noise? (This Book Is Calling You…), Isabel Minhós Martins and Madalena Matoso [Amazon] — An inventive, interactive children’s book that prompts children to provide the soundtrack to the story by, for instance, tapping the pages and scratching them.
Wee Gallery Color Me bath book series, Surya Sajnani [Amazon | Bookshop] — Amazing black-and-white bath books that change colors when they get wet. Slightly older children can dip their fingers in water and “paint” the image in the bath. Younger children can just dunk it, and the whole thing becomes vibrant with color. These books are lovely for babies, too. When you’re done with the bath, just rinse them and stand them up with the pages fanned out, and when they’re dry they turn back to black and white. There are many in the series, like Rainforest, Water, Pond, and Dinosaurs.
The Great Journey, Agathe Demois and Vincent Godeau [Amazon | Bookshop] — As the bird Red Beak migrates, he encounters all sorts of situations that look normal, but are they, really? Armed with a “magic” viewfinder, kids can peek beneath surfaces and inside buildings to find strange and unexpected surprises. Is that a squirrel factory inside that tree? And what are the ants doing inside their homes? And, wait, is that woman… a robot? There are so many things to notice in this book, and you really do feel a bit like a detective, discovering secrets.
Do Not Lick This Book, Iran Ben-Barak and Julian Frost [Amazon | Bookshop] — This ingenious book manages to make learning about microbes an interactive experience for kids. The main character is Min, a microbe who lives in this very book. Pick her up by touching the page and then take her on a journey by touching your teeth, your shirt, and your belly button. Extreme close-ups show each of these locations in fascinating, startling detail, and along the way, Min picks up some other microbe friends, too. It’s a great way to demonstrate how microbes travel from place to place (and how germs spread). Really fun.
The Jolly Postman, or Other People’s Letters, Janet and Allan Ahlberg [Amazon | Bookshop] — The Ahlbergs are masters at writing new books with familiar fairy tale and nursery rhyme characters, and this one is especially fun, since it’s filled with witty little letters concealed in envelopes. It’s exciting to get mail anyway, but intercepting a letter from Goldilocks? The design is thoughtful, intricate, and charming, and kids love pulling out the letters.
Give & Take, Lucie Félix [Amazon] — This chunky board book asks a child to move pop-out cardboard elements from page to page. Take two triangles out from one image, turn the page, and fit them together again in the slots there. Once you reach the end of the book, you can read it backward, returning all the pieces to their original positions. Although the book is about opposites, these aren’t the typical opposites you see in most children’s books. It’s bright, graphic, and inventive.
You’re the Hero series, Lily Murray [Amazon | Bookshop] — Like choose-your-own-adventure lite, these fun books present kids with all the components they need to make a compelling story. The books read like a menu: pick your hero, your tools, your companions, your mode of transport, your adversary… Although older kids could weave their own story from all of these details, younger kids just love picking their favorites (and grown-ups can ask them more about what they imagine will happen). Both of the books make a great effort to be diverse and inclusive, too. Check out the Pirate adventure here [Amazon | Bookshop].
Let’s Tell a Story! series, Lily Murray [Amazon | Bookshop] — This series, also by author Lily Murray, is practically identical to the You’re the Hero books: a set of exciting menus to piece together a story that suits your mood. While You’re the Hero focuses on jungle and pirate adventures, Let’s Tell a Story has a space adventure and a fairy tale adventure [Amazon | Bookshop].
Hide and Seek City, Agathe Demois and Vincent Godeau [Amazon | Bookshop] — Here, children use a “magic” viewfinder to see inside city buildings (the red plastic “disappears” the red outlines of the houses, revealing the blue figures inside). A lot is going on here behind closed doors, so there’s always something new to notice. At the end of the book, there’s a list of missing animals. Can you can back through the book and find each one? This book is great fun, and it feels a bit like you’re uncovering secrets as you read.
Crash, Splash, or Moo!, Bob Shea [Amazon | Bookshop] — In this mock-game show, hosted by Mr. McMonkey, children are given a wild, ridiculous scenario and asked to guess the outcome: crash, splash, or moo? Then you turn the page and watch how it plays out. The book is zany and completely absurd, and so of course the “prize” for winning is silly, too: a golden banana.
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