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Beyond the ‘pop-up’: Librarians recommend interactive books for tots

Reading to toddlers and preschoolers can be tricky. They’re fidgety, get easily distracted, and need lots of movement and silliness. Interactive books engage the pickiest readers and help develop those important early literacy skills needed to build strong readers.

One of the first early literacy skills children acquire is print motivation. Simply put, print motivation is choosing books that are fun, engaging, interactive, and that children will want to read and reread.

Here are some suggestions for interactive and fun reading experiences for children:

Press Here

Press Here

By Hervé Tullet

Chronicle Books, 2011

Age 2 and older

Who would have thought a book with nothing but colorful dots could be so interactive! Follow the directions on each page, such as rubbing the dot, shaking the book, and blowing on the dots, and embark on a journey to see dots multiply, transform, and disappear. You and your little one will be inspired again and again to read this book and share in the guessing of what is going to happen next!

 

Mix It Up

Mix It Up!

By Hervé Tullet

Chronicle Books, 2014

Age 3 and older

Following the familiar pattern of Press Here, French author Hervé Tullet’s Mix It Up introduces the idea of mixing colors and watching what happens when those colors get rubbed, smudged and pressed into one another. What better way to learn about primary colors and the new colors that can be created when mixing them up. This read is definitely a good introduction and prelude to finger painting.

 

Don't Touch this Book

Don’t Push the Button!

By Bill Cotter

Sourcebooks Inc., 2013

Age 3 and older

A former prekindergarten art and music teacher, Bill Cotter knows much about engaging preschoolers in the reading experience. His first children’s picture book is a hit with the target audience. Meet Larry, a snarky monster who likes to be bossy and silly at the same time. You’ll embark on a funny adventure pressing buttons, shaking the book, and even scratching Larry’s tummy to see the silly antics of this purple monster. With few words on each page and lots of expression, you are guaranteed lots of fun!

 

Don't Touch this Book

Don’t Touch This Book!

By Bill Cotter

Sourcebooks Inc., 2016

Age 3 and older

Larry from Don’t Push This Button! is back in this new adventure with “his” new book. Of course, he doesn’t want to share his new book with anyone! After laying out some ground rules, Larry takes the reader on a silly adventure of wiggling, spinning, and even walking and talking like a robot. Larry discovers once again that sharing and inviting the reader to enjoy in his book make it more fun.

 

Huff & Puff

Huff & Puff

By Claudia Rueda

Harry N. Abrams, 2012

Age 3 and older

Sometimes being the Big Bad Wolf is more fun than being the reader. In this fairytale classic, Rueda spins a new concept — the reader is going to be the Big Bad Wolf! If your child already knows the classic fairy tale, this version will make for much more laughter. Each page has a small hole where the child gets to huff and puff and blows the pig’s house down. To add even more of a twist, instead of the classic ending of the wolf winding up in a boiling pot, you huff and puff and end up blowing out a birthday cake baked by the three little pigs!

 

Wiggle

Wiggle

By Doreen Cronin

Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2005

Age 1 and older

“Do you wake up with a wiggle?” Most toddlers do, and sharing this hilarious story and getting all of the wiggles out is just fine! In fact, the more you wiggle, the better. Follow the dog on each page as you and he get your wiggles out in playful rhyming text, unimaginable wiggle scenarios, and colorful illustrations.

 

Tap the Magic Tree

Tap the Magic Tree

By Christie Matheson

Greenwillow Books, 2013

Age 2 and older

This picture book introduces early readers to the concept of the seasons changing and the circle of life — all in a simple bare brown tree. Join in the magical fun watching the seasons change as you tap, count, rub, jiggle, and blow tiny kisses to see how the bare brown tree changes with each activity. The ending is the best part. Once the tree is barren once again, ‘close your eyes and count to ten,’ and the magic starts again with a beautiful blue bird’s nest and the new hatchling in spring.

 

Touch the Brightest Star

Touch the Brightest Star

By Christie Matheson

Greenwillow Books, 2015

Age 3 and older

If you are looking for a simple but interactive bedtime story, Matheson’s follow-up to Tap the Magic Tree, is a hit. With rhyming text and beautiful illustrations, the book sets readers on a journey of all things related to nighttime — fireflies, bright stars, nocturnal animals, and even some easy-to-learn constellations. Practice breathing in deeply and ‘shhhhhing’ for a calming and beautiful bedtime story.

Dawn Guest is a library assistant at the Fort Worth Library.

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