Interactive Picture Books

“Give the pupils something to do, not something to learn; and the doing is of such a nature as to demand thinking; learning naturally results.” John Dewey

Those of us who are teachers and librarians learned about John Dewey, and this educational philosophy is demonstrated in today’s focus on project-based learning. In addition, today’s interactive picture books are showing that “doing” can add to the enjoyment of reading and being read to.

My dad knew this instinctively. When I was much too young to read on my own, he’d pick out one or two words from the book—usually a character or important object. Whenever that word appeared in the text, he would pause and let me “read” it. Many of my earliest memories are of sitting next to him while we read together.

We’ve come a long way since Pat the Bunny was first published in 1940. These interactive picture books allow readers and non-readers alike to get drawn into the stories—and they’re not just for infants and toddlers anymore!


The Black and White Factory by Eric Telchin (ill. by Diego Funck). 9781499802771. 2016. Gr PK-2.
In a factory of black and white (including the employees—a panda, penguin, and zebra), everyone is shocked to find a bit of orange in a bar code. The animals ask for help in getting rid of color by rubbing pages, tipping the book, and more.

Bunny Slopes by Claudie Rueda. 9781452141978. 2016. Gr PK-K.
Readers are asked to help Bunny successfully ski on the bunny slope by shaking, tilting, and turning the book to help Bunny avoid obstacles on the slope.

Clap, Clap! by Madalena Matoso. 9781909263826. 2016. Gr PK-K.
Readers can open and close the book to make instruments, animals, and people clap, flap, and crash together.

Don’t Blink! by Tom Booth. 9781250117366. 2017. Gr PK-2.
The reader is invited to have a staring contest with the narrator. As the game continues, more and more animals join, with the warning, “Don’t blink!” Who will be the winner?



Don’t Touch This Book! by Bill Cotter. 9781492632245. 2016. Gr PK-2.
Larry the monster warns readers not to touch his new book, but relents little by little as he walks readers through the book.

Plant the Tiny Seed by Christie Matheson. 9780062393395. 2017. Gr PK-2.
Readers can help to plant a tiny seed by pressing the seed on the page, wiggling their fingers to add water, and clapping to bring out the sun.

Say Zoop! by Herve Tullet. 9781452164731. 2017. Gr PK-1.
The narrator asks the reader to shout, whisper, or holler “Zoop!” in order to make the book come alive with a series of blue, red, and yellow dots.

Super-Duper Monster Viewer by Kevin Sylvester. 9781554988297. 2016. Gr PK-2.
Readers pretend to hold an object that will let them see invisible monsters that are all around them.



There’s a Bug on My Book! by John Himmelman. 9781584695882. 2017. Gr PK-3.
All sorts of bugs and critters appear on the pages of this book, and readers are encouraged to interact with them by doing such things as blowing on the page, shaking the book, and turning the page.

This Book Is Magic by Ashley Evanson. 9780399543920. 2017. Gr PK-2.
Readers can tap, twirl, and wiggle their fingers to do magic tricks like make a ship disappear, turn a frog into a prince, and make a lion juggle.

This Book Is Out of Control! by Richard Byrne. 9781627799331. 2017. Gr PK-3.
Ben is excited to show Bella his new remote-control toy, but when the remote starts controlling their dog instead, Ben and Bella—and the reader—will have to figure out a way to set things right.


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