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Wisconsin Parent

8 of the Best, Newest Interactive Books for Children

Mar 31, 2014 11:24AM ● By Tiffany Malloy
Interactive books are some of the best books for children. Kids not only get to engage their imagination as they read, but also their bodies— feel a texture, play a game, draw a picture, lift a flap, answer a question, or create a story themselves. Especially in a digital age, it’s important for physical books to offer more to readers than an average book.

Not all interactive books are created equal however. Here are a few that we absolutely LOVE and are convinced you will too.

Little Pear Tree

My little ones ADORE lifting flaps. In fact, I’m convinced that flap books alone help my babies fall in love with reading. Little Pear Tree is a beautiful book about the life cycle of  pear tree- beginning in winter and moving through the year. Most board books are small squares, but this one is much bigger- tall and slender, but still perfect for little hands. What I particularly like about this one (besides the gorgeous illustrations) is that it grows with the child. While most flap books are typically aimed at tiny tots with short attention spans, this one features words, along with pictures, under the flaps—introducing young readers to easy-to-learn words.

NoodleNoodle books

Noodle is a lovable little panda who loves to do the very same things as our babies and toddlers- eat, sleep, cuddle, and go on adventures! In each of these short board books, we learn a little bit more about Noodle and babies get to touch something different on each page. The textures are interesting, the illustrations are super bright, and the words are very simple. Each page is filled with items to point to and talk about, something that is very important for babies and toddlers to do as they develop their literary skills.


Join Littleland friends as they go about their day- waking up, doing errands, playing, working, and eating! On each page, the reader (ages 2-5) is asked a question and they can use clues from the picture to answer. As a bonus, the book doubles as a simple seek-and find. My three year old has read this book probably more than 50 times, and I may or may not have hidden it so that we could get to a couple other books that I picked up from the library. Thankfully, it’s a cute book that I like too, and am all ready to preorder the next one, Littleland Around the World, once it comes up on Amazon.

UnknownPlaybook Pirates

This is a pop-up book and play mat all rolled into one. Your child can choose to snuggle up and read the book OR spread it out wide and use the cardboard characters tucked inside the front pocket to have themselves a wild pirate adventure. Be careful not to get eaten by the huge octopus on your way to finding the buried treasure!  Hands-down, this is the coolest thing ever. We’re eagerly awaiting Nosy Crow's Playbook Castle release in July.

help_cover_UK_21FEB_v2-page-001Help! We Need a Title!

Tullet is a master of interactive, surprising books (Press Here and The Book With a Hole, to name only two). Help! We Need a Title! is his newest book, aimed at children ages 4-8. In this book, the reader shows up, but the characters aren’t ready yet! Kids can laugh and play along as the characters try to figure out what to do. This book is clever, funny, and engaging.

megaMega Mash-Ups

Many of us probably remember the old choose-you-own-adventure books, but have you heard of DRAW-your-own adventure books? Kids can  read  these chapter books and draw along the way. Sometimes they are asked to fill in word bubbles, and other times parts of a scene. What I love about this set of books is that it encourages kids to use their imagination and allows for some pretty fantastic creativity! While they are marketed to boys, my girls thought they were really funny too. There are 6 books currently out in this series:

#1 Robots vs. Gorillas in the Desert

#2 Romans vs. Dinosaurs on Mars

#3 Aliens vs. Mad Scientists Under the Ocean

#4 Pirates vs. Ancient Egyptians in a Haunted Museum

#5 Spies vs. Giant Slugs in the Jungle

#6 Trolls vs. Cowboys in the Arctic

girlsMagical Mix-Ups

Design! Doodle! Draw! This is a more girlified version of the Mega Mash-Ups, but with different authors. One of the biggest differences is that this one encourages your child to use decorating tools as well. Add sparkles, glitter, candy wrappers, tinfoil, or whatever your imagination can think up! The girls loved them. The downside? It was a bit hard for them to share.  The four books that make up this series are:

#1 Magical Mix-Ups: Birthdays and Bridesmaids

#2 Magical Mix-Ups: Friends and Fashion

#3 Magical Mix-Ups: Pets and Parties

#4 Magical Mix-Ups: Spells and Surprises

mamokoThe World of Mamoko in the Year 3000

The setting is Mamoko and the year is 3000. Use the detailed illustrations inside to create your own story! The only words in this one are in the front cover, where we are introduced to the various characters (their picture, their name, and a little bit about them). This book is a cross between a seek-and-find and wordless book. Admittingly, this kind of book is unusual, but it is SO MUCH FUN. The kids and I had a blast creating both silly stories and serious ones too. There is so much to see on each page that the story options are endless. I’m also thinking about using this book during the summer as a way to keep my kids writing. Give them the book, and ask them to write a five-sentence story about one of the characters. They won't even know they're "working"!


What are some of your favorite interactive books? Comment below to share your suggestions !

A big thank you to Candlewick Press for providing complimentary copies of some of these books!