Interactive books are a great way to actively engage young children. Often an unseen narrator addresses them directly, immediately drawing them into the story. Then, a required task brings the book to life by providing a chance for the child to become an integral part of the narrative. The call-to-action is perfect for young children who love to make silly sounds or touch the book directly. Because the reader has to pay attention to the text, their listening skills are enhanced in a fun way. Interactive stories are fun, engaging, and perfect for toddlers! Below are a few of our new favorites. Enjoy!
Tickle My Ears by Jorg Muhle, 2016
(Ages 2 – 6)
Little Rabbit is going to bed, but he needs your help. Children are invited to encourage Rabbit to put on his pajamas by clapping their hands, fluffing his pillow, and tucking him in. I had so much fun reading this book with my two-year-old daughter. I just loved watching her gently stroke Rabbit’s back and whisper, “Good Night, Bunny”, in her little voice. It set the perfect mood for her own bedtime and became one of her favorite books to read for weeks. We also loved the sequel, Bathtime for Little Rabbit, 2017.
Pancakes! (Cook in a Book series) by Lotta Nieminen, 2016
(Ages 2 – 6)
This brilliant board book will capture any child’s love of cooking and playing. There is no story here per se, but instead the book lays out the necessary steps to prepare pancakes. Using clever sliders and spinners children can participate in each step. For example, they can pull a tab to watch flour fill a bowl and turn a spinner to mix the batter. My two-year-old daughter’s favorite part of this book was the cutout circle in the shape of a pancake that pops out, so that you can flip it and then put it on a plate in the book. Even my five-year-old wanted in on the action and took a turn flipping the pancake. This book is fun, engaging, and a must-have for any little chefs in training. The other books in the series include Pizza and Tacos and are just as much fun!
The Cat Book by Silvia Borando, 2017
(Ages 2 – 5)
This adorable import from Italy invites children to name and care for a cute orange cat. The small size of the book is perfect for little hands and the bright orange cat against a white background immediately draws readers in. Green text encourages children to make the kitty purr by tickling under the chin, protecting the cat from rain by making an umbrella with their hands, and lulling it to sleep by giving a little good night scratch behind the ears. My children enjoyed performing all the various actions and even laughed out loud on the page where the cat appears poofy from getting wet. Such a fun read!
Will You Help Doug Find His Dog? by Jane Caston; illustrated by Carmen Saldana, 2017
(Ages 2 – 6)
Poor Doug has lost his dog. An unseen narrator asks for the reader’s help in finding his pet. Doug is sitting on a bench in a dog park surrounded by a number of frisky canines. After asking Doug a series of questions, children have to narrow down the group of dogs to find Doug’s special one. This book stands out to me because it helps children build their reading comprehension skills. They have to listen to instructions and then apply an action matching the auditory clue with a visual.
When the reader discovers the dog has spots, children are asked to identify the spotted dogs in the group and then pat them. Then they have to look at a line of dogs and tickle the small ones. My two-year-old daughter’s favorite page is when the dog gives the reader a big kiss. We would always snuggle in close and pretend to do a sloppy dog kiss when reading this page. There is also a bit of a surprise ending when Doug is disappointed the last dog meets all the criteria except that the dog is brown instead of white. After shaking the book, however, children will discover the dog was covered in mud and it is in fact Doug’s dog. Doug is thrilled until he sees his dog running off to another puddle.
I had a difficult time reviewing this book because every time I took it out of my daughter’s room to write about it, she would throw a fit and demand it back in her room for even more readings. Luckily, we could renew it twice from the library.
Little Penguin and the Lollipop by Tadgh Bentley, 2017
(Ages 3 – 6)
Little Penguin has done something he shouldn’t have. He accidentally ate his friend, Kenneth the Seagull’s, lollipop. He is now trying to make amends by cheering him up, but he needs the reader’s help. Penguin believes that making funny faces and shouting “Razzle Dazzle Lollipop!” will make Kenneth smile. Each time Little Penguin asks the reader to yell a little louder and shake their feathers. After flapping and jumping around, Little Penguin falls into the water and discovers a new seaweed flavored lollipop. He shares it with Kenneth and in a comical twist, they realize too late the lollipop belongs to a giant whale.
My two-year-old daughter and five-year-old son love this book! They had a blast yelling silly words and shaking their pretend wings while hopping on one foot. Due to the laughter level, this is not a great bedtime book, but it is definitely a fantastic read aloud.
We also loved the first book in the series, Little Penguin Gets the Hiccups, 2015.