Kids’ Books I Like: Audience Participation

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

The Cat's Quizzer

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.

Mad Libs

By Roger Price and Leonard Stern

Mad Libs JuniorBelieve 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.

I Spy

By Jean Marzollo and Walter Wick

I Spy BookThe “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

AnimaliaThis 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.

By [E]SaraB

Glass artisan by day, blogger by night (and sometimes vice versa). SaraB has three kids, three pets, one husband and a bizarre sense of humor. Her glass pendants can be found at if you're interested in checking it out.

2 replies on “Kids’ Books I Like: Audience Participation”

Walter Wick books for the win! I have an autographed copy of one of his I Spy books. He was one of the visiting authors at our local elementary school. It’s a wonderful program.

I’ve forgotten where some items are located so it’s fun to re examine the pages. And the challenges at the back were baffling. I’ve spent many hours pouring over the photos studying how Wick arranged the items, trying to figure out the lighting.

Mad Libs is always good.

Waaay back when my 18 year old son was a preschooler we had old books that had “records” attached. No, not talking about the push button sound effect ones. They were records with accompanying sounds effects which you played by running the needle through the grooves. They were fun. My son would listen in earnest and wait to play the record. And we’d giggle when we played the records backwards or too fast.

Leave a Reply