Get Interactive: Picture books with hands-on storytelling
My favorite kind of picture book is one that encourages interaction. The experience of hearing a story really comes to life when kids can add to it and help make it their own. More and more picture books come with some kind of interactive element these days, but I'll focus on a few of my favorites.
Press Here by Henri Tullet is interactive in a more traditional sense: it actively prompts the audience with instructions. For example, the first page shows a yellow dot and the text reads, "Press here and turn the page." When the reader turns the page, there are now two yellow dots, and the text instructs, "Great! Now press the yellow dot again." I have used this book in a small storytime with just a couple of kids and they LOVED it. I made sound effects each time one of them pressed a dot, and by the end they were absolutely shrieking with laughter. It's a wonderful book for an imaginative grown-up to share with just one or two preschoolers. See below for a great book trailer for Press Here.
Hot Rod Hamster by Cynthia Lord also has text that addresses the audience directly but, instead of instructions, it asks a question. The hamster has lots of choices for different kinds of car parts as he's building his hot rod and the text asks, "Which would you choose?" before the reader turns the page. It's laid out intelligently, so the reader and the audience can have a discussion about which car part they would pick and which part they think the hamster will pick.
A recent release called The Goldilocks Variations by Allan Ahlberg utterly charmed me with the tone, concept and layout. It contains a few different versions of the Goldilocks story, told in a very funny and conversational way. It also features pull tabs and flaps that invite the reader to interact with the book physically. At some points, you need to pull a tab to get to the end of a sentence. It's tons of fun for a parent or caregiver, as well as one or two young listeners.
The popular Pete the Cat picture book series is also interactive because it features a simple, repeating song that is easy to quickly memorize and sing. It also asks the reader a question, similar to Hot Rod Hamster, except the answer is on the same page and it's always the same. "Did Pete cry? Goodness no! He kept walkin' along and singin' his song." The cover of Pete the Cat also invites readers to visit the website where they can hear Pete's song.
Thank you Kristen, what greatBeth Ann (not verified) - Jul 3 2013
Thanks, Beth Ann! I didn'tklawson - Jul 8 2013