Good afternoon class. Today we will be discussing interactive books for young people. Some of my daughter’s favorite books are the ones that let her play along, instead of just listening to a story. They take a little longer, so they are not so good for nights when we’re running a little late, but they can be a powerful bargaining tool. When engaged in the age-old “five more minutes” debate, pointing out that if we start now we’ll have time for Mad Libs can quell a lot of whining. They’ve even been known to encourage that most elusive of creatures, the spontaneous family activity.
The Cat’s Quizzer
By Dr. Seuss
I remember this book from my childhood, and I suspect it contributed to making me the trivia junkie I am today. If you’ve never read it, it is a combination of trivia questions and puzzles, some of which are surprisingly complex for young people. It encourages the reader to pay attention and think before answering. My only problem is the turtle maze. I swear I have done it a hundred times and, unless the turtles are walking on top of the walls, there is no solution. It makes me crazy.
By Roger Price and Leonard Stern
Believe it or not, you can do Mad Libs with a five-year-old. I never would have thought to try, but someone gave my daughter a Fairly Odd Parents fill-in-the-blank book and she loved it. It can take a little coaching, and many reminders that a noun is a person, place or thing, but it is surprisingly fun. This is where we get our most spontaneous family activities; when first brothers, and then Daddy, are called in to help think of words.
By Jean Marzollo and Walter Wick
The “I Spy” line of books has expanded to cover all the age groups. There are even board books for toddlers. I chose the “I Spy” books as my example because they are pretty, and I do love pretty books, but there are about a million to choose from because kids love hidden pictures – always have, always will. They work really well for older sibling/younger sibling bonding because everyone gets to play along, and being older doesn’t necessarily make you better at finding things.
By Graeme Base
This one is less interactive than my other selections, but did I mention how I love pretty books? “Animalia” is an alphabet book about animals, starting with aardvark and ending with zebra, full of alliterative text and beautiful illustrations. I think I had read it two or three times before I realized that all the pretty pictures were filled with things that start with the same letter. Depending on your mood, you can just read it straight through or you can make a game out of finding all the things that start with the right letter on each page.