Read with Me, Play with Me

The best picture books invite readers (and listeners) into a special world, whether full of magic, humor, or heart. Some, and there have been several out lately, actually demand an interaction between the book and the reader; these interactive books require a child who is old enough to follow the lead but young enough to give himself over to the inherent ridiculousness of talking to a book. I am lucky enough to have just such a 4-year-old at my house, and we have been enjoying books like these:


Press Here by Herve Tullet
It’s not the first ever interactive picture book, but Tullet’s simple, elegant cause-and- effect really jump started the recent trend. Following the instructions, a child can move around a fanciful space, making spots appear and disappear and dance across the clean white pages. It’s beautifully designed and completely child-centric.

Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson
The tree is clearly inspired by Tullet’s book, but Matheson takes the same concept and blends in the magic of the seasons. It’s a gentle read, with 1 tap, 2, 3, 4 taps prodding spring leaves to burst from a bare tree, followed by buds and blooms, and apples to knock from branches (we always have to take a break here to enjoy a pretend apple together). It’s not revolutionary, but it blends preschool concepts with just a little bit of magic.




There Are Cats in This Book by Viviane Schwartz
This title, and its sequel There Are No Cats in This Book, introduce Tiny, Moonpie, and Andre, a trio of primary colored cats, and their feline adventures. Lifting flaps, turning pages, and a running dialogue with the reader make this an engaging, energetic, entertaining read for cat lovers and everyone else.

Count the Monkeys by Mac Barnett
Even my 7-year-old comes down for this one – the reader is invited to count the monkeys, but oh no! a giant cobra has scared them away! Barnett does, indeed, sneak in a counting book, but each page turn brings more and more preposterous reasons those monkeys won’t stay put. Put your arms up, roar, cast your vote (is it Mongooses or Mongeese?),whatever, but don’t just sit there!


What are your favorite interactive picture books?

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