Friday, August 4, 2017

Hilarious Interactive Picture Books for Kids

by Susan Stephenson,

Some of my very favourite children’s picture books are those that invite children to play. They encourage kids to interact in some way, whether by actually touching a page, or by calling out, or responding. Some of the books below address kids directly, exhorting them to NOT let a pigeon drive a bus, or NOT to open a book. Some of them rhyme, some of them make up crazy words. What they all have in common is that they will encourage children to associate reading with enjoyment and laughter - and that is a wonderful thing!

I have also made a Listly list of these books and embedded it below. This means that as I encounter suitable new books, I can add them, meaning you can bookmark this page, knowing the list will be updated.

Review: Did You Take the B from My _ook? by Beck and Matt Stanton, published by HarperCollins Childrens /ABC Books (2016.) RRP: $Au19.99 HB.

From the publisher:

From the brilliant brains behind THIS IS A BALL comes a new giggle-inducing bestseller!

For the Grown-Ups:

OK. Two things you need to know. Firstly, your favourite thing in the whole world is the letter B. And secondly, you're about to sneeze and all the Bs are going to be blown out of the book. So until you can get your favourite letter back, you're about to sound really, really silly ... And the kids will love it!

Ages: 4+

This is a Ball by the same creative team is one of my all-time successful read-alouds for kids, so I was keen to read their latest book. Or should that be _ook? Since all the B’s are missing, reading aloud is rather tricky and for some reason the kids are rolling around the floor laughing. Did You Take the B from my _ook? truly does embody my comment about kids associating books and reading with fun. I whole-heartedly recommend it to library Storytimes, class read-alouds (especially that special one when the Principal reads to the assembly) and any home where the joy of reading is held dear.

Check out the trailer below.

Review: This is a Serious Book by Jodie Parachini and Daniel Rieley, published by Allen and Unwin (Faber) (2007.) RRP: $Au 14.99.

From the publisher:

A serious book is black-and-white, and it informs the reader. So why are a donkey in a flowered hat, a laughing zebra, a hissing snake, a marching penguin and cavorting monkeys in this book? Join the fun as the animals take control, effortlessly and with great style and humour, in this new picture book that is both very silly and very sophisticated, to be enjoyed by all ages...

Children will make a guess from the cover, when they see a grinning monkey hanging from the E in SERIOUS above a goofy donkey in a feathered hat, that there is humour ahead. The warning, “Nothing silly is allowed.” will definitely reinforce the idea. There’s that wonderful dynamic between the poor adult reader, desperately trying to convince children the book is serious, and a cast of crazy animal characters, intent on proving the opposite. The colourful illustrations are integral to these shenanigans, and kids will no doubt take much pleasure in copying the animal antics. Highly recommended.

Here are more really funny children’s picture books that invite kids to interact:

Please Open this Book

From my review: Preschool kids seem naturally drawn to subversive humour, and they also love books that invite interaction. This one opens with a pair of eyes and a tentative Hello? Soon we meet the crew who’ve been trapped inside the book - a jungly and slightly squashed assortment including monkeys, apes, a toucan and a squashed banana. We are exhorted not to close the book again because of all the damage it can do, but the ending is getting closer…

This is a Ball

From my review: The book’s cover comes with advice (warning?): Books That Drive Kids Crazy. I can absolutely corroborate that. But it’s crazy in a good way: my kids couldn’t believe I was silly enough to be reading aloud “This is a ball.” when the simple illustration was so obviously a box, instead. By the time we came to the page “This is a scary monster.” depicting a princess, even the littlest ones were emphatically shouting “No!” Despite all this denial, and screams of laughter, by the time the end of the book came we had “Read it again, PLEASE!”

Warning, Do Not Open this Book

From my review: Kids will laugh out loud from end-paper to end-paper, chortling over all the exhortations to them NOT to turn the pages. The lovely quality of the book's paper further enhances the muted palette illustrations, illustrations that truly spring to life, urged on by the story's drama.

The Book with No Pictures

From my review: What the book does so cleverly is that it invites kids to play, and to join in a delightful joke on those who are reading aloud to them. You see, books with no pictures are made up of words, and words must be read by a read-alouder no matter what. No matter what! In this way Novak compels one-who-reads-to-kids to utter strange words like BLORK and BLuuRF, to sing silly songs and make preposterous statements featuring robot monkeys and hippos named Boo Boo Butt.

Hug this Book

From my review: Hug This Book! won my heart instantly. I adore the idea of a book that invites kids to share the love that books and reading can bring. Don’t we all know youngsters who obsess over a certain book and want it read aloud every night? Hug This Book! is written in an energetic and rhythmic way that has kids giggling from the get-go. Benaglia’s illustrations are reminiscent of comic book art, with lots of enthusiastic splotches of colour and flowing ink sketches that add even more energy and fun to each page.

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

All the Mo Willems books I’ve read have been wonderful. In Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, the Pigeon quite understandably wants to drive the bus and keeps asking the listening kids to allow him to do so. His excellent bribes and complaints sound awfully like the same ones kids would use! It’s this kind of interactivity that my kids adore - the same sort of involvement you see in a great pantomime. Children just love to be the ones bossing the Pigeon around.

That is NOT a Good Idea

From my review: …a fun read, and truly fantastic to share with a group of kids. From the first enigmatic meeting between Hungry Fox and Plump Goose, Willems' deceptively simple story is accompanied by expressive cartoon-style illustrations children will love. The Greek chorus in the form of goslings giving advice - "That is NOT a good idea!" - is perfect for joining in.

The Pigeon Needs a Bath

From my review: The Pigeon Needs a Bath truly will make children and adults laugh aloud! Avoiding bath time is something kids can relate to. Mums and dads will love that here is yet another wonderful picture book to convince kids reading is ultra cool.

Let’s Play

From my review: What do kids love to do? Play! So let’s link reading with play in their minds. Let’s Play is perfect for this. Tullet speaks to kids through the yellow dot, which encourages kids to create a line for its amazing journey through the book. The dot prompts children to find a “hidden” dot, skip jump dots, count to 10, (both handy skills for Maths!) and tip-toe past scary eyes in the dark. Youngsters also discover that clapping their hands and saying Za-Za-Zoom apparently rescues dots from a fix. They’ll love the dot’s adventures and I’ll love to think of some youngsters puzzling out exactly how that tricky dot manages to “move”.

The Wrong Book

From my review: In The Wrong Book, Nicholas Ickle tries and tries to introduce the subject of the book, himself, but he's constantly interrupted by other characters, ones who don't belong in the story. It's a great book to read aloud and have kids join in.

If you’re looking for a wonderful read-aloud to share with a group of kids, grab one or all of these! You might also be interested in (Seriously) Fun Picture Books for Kids. 

Find even more Children's Book Reviews on The Book Chook by clicking Reviews in the right sidebar.

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