Beyond the Fourth Wall: Interactive Books for Young Children


interactive books for young childrenWhen I was young, interactive books for young children only meant pop-up books. As the younger sibling, however, most of ours had torn tabs and re-taped pop-outs which eventually stopped working all together. In recent years, however, we’ve seen a new way for families to engage with books directly. Without using the delicate pop-out mechanics, clever authors and illustrators are bringing their all to a growing collection of interactive books. These books engage the readers immediately and directly- breaking down that proverbial fourth wall- and making for hours of jumping, chatting and silly fun.

I’ve read these books successfully with toddlers through kindergarteners and they always seem to delight. I relish watching their reactions as they tap, shake, or shout back to the books we share. Enjoy these together and let me know what your family thinks of these interactive picture books!

Classic Interactive Books for Young Children

From Head To Toe by Eric Carle

Eric Carle is a truly a picture book master and he knows just how to engage young readers. Enjoy imitating the movements of a flamingo or a giraffe as you get your little ones moving with this 1997 classic. Great for some focused movement activity! Wonderful in the wintertime when you’ve got cabin-fever.

The Monster At The End of This Book by Jon Stone

Oh, Grover. Someone told him there was a monster at the end of the book and he’s terrified! He will beg and plead with you not to turn the pages! Of course, no child could resist turning the page… So much monsterly fun.

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems

Believe it or not, Pigeon is 16! He’s old enough to drive! But please, don’t let him drive that bus-even though he will convince you that he can…  

The Newbies

Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson

You and your child move this story along by tapping, shaking, and blowing leaves from the page! Children are mesmerized by having the power over the story. The simple, soft illustrations are a delight for everyone. While a newbie now, this will be a classic for sure. Don’t miss Christie Matheson’s other interactive books like Touch the Brightest Star.

Play This Book by Jessica Young and Daniel Wiseman

I read this fun one with Toddlers and Kindergarteners in the same day. Neither group could get enough of making a ruckus, clapping the pages, stopping their feet, and having a glorious time! So much fun if you are ready for some noise! Check out the companion, Pet this Book if you need something a bit quieter before bed.

Press Here by Hervé Tullet

Tullet has created a classic. Readers activate brightly colored dots on each page to watch a magical dance unfold. Your children will enjoy the gratification of cause and effect as they tap, shake and staighten the book to manipulate the dots.  You will love the imbedded lessons of color, counting, and directionality.  All of his books are a hit for readers ages 2-5! 

This Is Owl by Libby Walden and Jacqui Lee

This new one just came across my desk and I’m totally smitten.  Start by waking the slumbering owl by tickling him! Help her build a nest by tracing the twigs. And please! Blow away the rain cloud before owl and her friend get drenched! A lovely narrative of teamwork and friendship accompany this delightfully interactive picture book.  

All links are to but as always try your local Seacoast library or independent bookstore!