Who had the brilliant idea to make physical books interactive for children? In a world of digital media, it is amazing to have physical books that get kids involved in the process. Of course Choose Your Own Adventure has been around for years, but I’m talking about books for the younger set who are still just learning to love books. This is more than just pop-up books where they are able to make things move, but rather, books where they feel like what they are doing makes a difference in the story. Books that ask children to be involved in the story by tapping pages, pressing on things, moving their hands, blowing kisses….Very few children can resist getting involved with these books.
At some point recently, I heard about the book Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson. I was thrilled to find it on the “new” bookshelf in our library and grabbed a copy for my kids to take a look at. They LOVED it! I expected my 3 year old to enjoy the book, but my nearly 7 year old has also really enjoyed reading it, to herself and to her sister. There was a day last week where E asked me to read this probably 3 times in a row. The story itself is really lovely – “There is magic in this bare brown tree. Tap it once. Turn the page and see.” With that, the children set off on a journey to move the tree through the seasons giving it leaves, flower buds, petals, apples and then having the leaves change colors. An absolutely awesome book.
Another, slightly older, book that has a similar perspective on getting kids involved is Herve Tullet’s Press Here. This marvelous book starts with one yellow dot and gets the children to add more dots, change the colors and make them move around. With the right imagination, children will believe that they are truly making magic on these pages.
A book that we had a lot of fun with in story time is Can You Make A Scary Face? by Jan Thomas. It starts off with a ladybug shouting to the reader “Hey, you! Yes, I’m talking to you! Stand up!” Turn the page and the ladybug says: “No, I changed my mind…sit down!” And so it goes. Then the ladybug has the kids play a game of let’s pretend. Let’s pretend there is a tiny bug on your nose, so the kids to wiggle their noses. Pretend the bug flies into your mouth – blow it out. But then when the pretend bug becomes a real, giant frog, the ladybug needs you to make a scary face to save her. A laugh out loud fun time for young kids!
I’m sure that there are tons more, but what a great place to start.