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Children’s Book Recommendations – August 2021

5 Interactive Books for Babies and Toddlers

This month’s recommendations use a range of interactive devices, including scanimation, sliders, flaps and finger trails. Such features give a young child multiple opportunities to develop their motor skills. Furthermore, they act as a stimulus, enabling the adult and child to interact and enjoy themselves (repeatedly) through play.

NB: Some babies may enjoy these books before the recommended age.

I thought I saw a...bear! by Ruth Symons, Illus. Lydia Nichols (2018) 1+

This book is one of a ‘hide-and-seek’ series featuring interactive sliders. It’s simple, repetitive and (apparently) addictive! Other books in the series will have your child revealing a monkey, an elephant, a penguin, a dinosaur and a lion!

Gallop: A Scanimation Picture Book by Rufus Butler Seder (2007) 1+

This innovative board book brings animals to life using a state-of-the-art, six-phase animation process. Your toddler will love flipping the pages backwards and forwards to see a horse galloping, a turtle swimming, a butterfly fluttering, a cat springing, and more… The inventor, Rufus Seder, is a filmmaker with a penchant for optical toys. Accompanying the absorbing moving images are simple questions (Can you strut like a rooster?) which are answered by rhyming animal sounds (giddyup-a-loo!, cock-a-doodle-doo!). It’s also well worth checking out ‘Swing!’, ‘Waddle!’ and ‘ABC Animals!’

Animal Rhymes by Rod Campbell (2020) 1+

An excellent companion book to Campbell’s essential classic, ‘Dear Zoo.’ In addition to lifting the flaps, children will be able to join in with traditional nursery rhymes such as ‘Mary had a little lamb’ and 'Little Miss Muffet’ while learning a few of Campbell’s own. Perfect for parents and children who like to sing.

Mouse House by Michelle Cartlidge (1990) 2+

Aged about 5, I managed to catch a mouse in a sieve. And I suspect my boldness had something to do with this book. Like its subject, it’s tiny – only a mouse could hide behind it – but much more endearing. On page 1, we learn, ’ Mice live in all sorts of places. You may not have seen them…’ The child then goes on a small (indoor and outdoor) adventure, lifting flaps to reveal detailed, neatly furnished ‘mouse houses’ and their fully-clothed inhabitants. This book is out of print, so you will have to hunt it down online.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar's Wild Animal Hide-and-Seek (2021) 1+

It’s well worth exploring the ‘World of Eric Carle’ series. (‘Sleep Tight with the Very Hungry Caterpillar is another personal favourite.) Like the original story books, these combine bright, catchy illustrations with enriching vocabulary. And there is always an interactive element. This particular book has a rhyming Q&A-style narrative, chunky flaps and finger trails. And the onomatopoeic rhythms – ’Who is at the waterhole wallowing all day?’ – make it memorable.


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