I recently wrote about creative books for the kids in your family, which can keep them (and sometimes you) occupied for hours at a time. (My daughter took to Connect the Thoughts right away and has hardly put it down.) But the smallest geeklings among us haven’t quite learned how to be careful with books yet. Never fear, there are plenty of interesting, intriguing books for their age group as well. From charmingly chunky books with just a few pages to enticingly educational books that teach preschool basics to the much-loved lift-the-flap books, this book list contains something for every young bibliophile.
Two books from the fantastic author Taro Gomi, Wiggle! and Hide and Seek will get your young kids participating in story time. Wiggle! encourages your kids to use their finger as a part of the story, or they can just giggle at your own finger wiggling. Hide and Seek encourages kids to find the animal who matches the description. Each page in these traditionally sized board books can spark conversation, learning, and fun.
A Tree for All Seasons $9.99
This book may only have a few pages, but they are brilliantly colored and full of nature exploration. All four seasons are covered, plus there are a few flaps to open and discover how animals handle the changing seasons. The pages are interestingly shaped, and your toddler will adore turning them.
What’s in Your Purse? $17.99
This is one book that I would have adored as a kid. Not because I loved purses, but because I liked seeing what was in things. What’s in Your Purse contains five different purses that kids can open and peruse, finding photos, money, make-up, calendars, and more. You can make up all kinds of stories about the people who would carry such items in their purses, and ask your kids what kinds of things they would carry in their own purses or bags. This book’s pages aren’t quite as thick as the other books on this list, so with young kids you will want to monitor their play for a while.
If you or your kids are interested to see how What’s in Your Purse came about, Chronicle Books wrote up the history of its development.
Daddy Wrong Legs $6.99
If your kids are fans of silliness, this book is sure to get them laughing. The top and bottom halves of the book open independently, allowing for a multitude of combinations of daddy bodies and legs. All of these daddies are animals, and it can be fun to mix and match them, such as a rooster top and an elephant bottom, or a spider top and an octopus bottom.
The Odd One Out Series $12.95 each
Books in the Odd One Out series include such titles as In, Out, and All Around, Happy Angry Sad, and Big and Small. In each of the books, author/illustrator Guido van Genechten challenges little kids to find which animals fit the several “odd one out” criteria on each page. Kids will enjoy the search!
You Are My Baby: Ocean, Garden, Farm, and Safari $8.99 each
These books have two sets of pages to turn, one for the parent animal, and one for the baby animal. Kids can turn the baby pages as parents turn the grown-up pages, or have some fun with it and turn the pages at different rates. Adorable, smiling faces fill the pages, and the onomatopoeia makes it even more fun. There should be a book theme to fit every child’s interest.
TouchThinkLearn: Colors, Opposites, Shapes, and Numbers $14.99 each
Kids like to touch things. It’s a fact of life. And these three-dimensional books are tactile while they teach some of the basics to young kids. On each page, the word in question is taught and shown, and there is a raised or lowered section that kids can trace with their fingers. The pages are simple and clear, with bold colors and artwork.
Jojo’s First Word Book $16.99
Jump start your kids’ vocabulary with this book filled with basic words. It covers Jojo and Lulu, the main characters; words at home; out and about; and animal friends. Jojo and Lulu go about their day as they encounter almost 200 labeled objects for kids to learn. Though I’ve classified this as a board book, only the tabbed section dividers are thick cardboard; the others are thick paper. By the same author as the TouchThinkLearn series above, this book, too, has three dimensions to touch, as well as a handy fabric carrying handle.
Our Planet $12.99
This book has no words, yet it tells the tale of a world that destroys itself through over-development. But then it starts from scratch again, building in moderation, where everything can coexist in harmony. Kids are then encouraged to draw their own world on the included, removable blank world which features a blurb from Jane Goodall. Kids and parents can tell this story together, taking turns interpreting the drawings.
Lonely Planet’s World Search series, including Amazing Jobs, Incredible Animals, and Busy Places $14.99 each
Lonely Planet has been in the book-making market for a while, but in recent years they’ve branched out into interesting non-guide books for adults and for children. One of their newest series is called World Search, in which the books’ spreads each contain a scene with many, many flaps to open. Each page also challenges kids to find a specific item, and the last page in each book contains extra checklists of items to find on the preceding pages. For kids who love lift-the-flap books (mine sure did), these are perfect books to discover.
Another hands-on book, this one involves kids in the magic of changing every day objects into animals, with a few simple twists and turns of brad-attached cardboard pieces. A hot air balloon transforms into a bunny rabbit. A teapot that turns into an elephant. This book is great fun. In case you’re not sure how the animals and objects are supposed to be arranged, there are pairs of images in the back of the book for guidance. Though it is advertised for kids ages three and up, I recommend that you judge the proper age for yourself, as some three year olds might not be gentle enough with the movable parts.
Almost 100 vehicles will thrill kids who have a cars and trucks bent. Interactive machines such as a crawler excavator, a forklift, a scissor lift, a combine harvester, a rickshaw, a freight train, a lobster boat, a container ship, a glider, and a rocket sit among many other vehicles, all labeled for easy identification. Move vehicle arms, slide people, turn wheels, and open many flaps to learn more about this wide variety of vehicles. Because of all the moving parts, I recommend this book for slightly older young kids, or any who are careful with book parts.
One or more of the above books are sure to thrill the small children in your life. Once you’ve worked your way through the standards, such as Goodnight Moon and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, your library will need some freshening up.
Note: I received copies of these books for review purposes.