Interactive books are popping up for children
Kids' books: 10 new action-packed books include classic tales, animals, superheros, and even a lesson in the mechanics of pop-up books.
Scripps Howard News Service
Interactive books — with pages filled with illustrations that pop up, flaps to open or tabs to lift or pull — are all the rage these days. Here's a look at some interactive books that would make great holiday gifts for kids:
• It can be a tricky proposition to read interactive books with very young readers, who want to yank tabs instead of pull them or grab at fragile pop-up pages. Fortunately, some publishers are making sturdier interactive books for little ones. A fine example is "Gossie Plays Hide and Seek" (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $13.99, ages 2-4). Based on the popular "Gossie" books written and illustrated by Olivier Dunrea, this chunky book has it all: thick tabs that kids can pull, flaps to open, unusual surfaces to feel and even a flower scent to sniff. The book concludes with a simple game.
• Maisy, the beloved mouse character created by author/artist Lucy Cousins, turned 20 this year. So she's celebrating with a new interactive book, "Maisy's Show" ($15.99, Candlewick Press, ages 2-4). Young readers can pull tabs to make Maisy tap-dance and help Cyril the magician disappear, among other feats. Cousins' blocky, brilliantly colored artwork is just right for little ones, who will delight in Maisy's latest exploits. (Note: While this book is sturdier than most interactive books, it still requires close parental supervision to ensure that the book stays intact!)
• Beautiful artwork, clever paper engineering and an engaging rhyme make "Little Penguins"(Abrams, $17.95, ages 3-5) a winner for preschool readers. Written by Jean-Luc Fromental and illustrated by Joelle Jolivet, "Little Penguins" requires kids to count backward from 10 as they pull open each pop-up page and watch the penguins disappear — one by one — before getting to the surprise ending. The paper engineering by Bernard Duisit has a big "wow!" factor, as he includes pull-tabs on the pop-up illustrations.
• "Wild Alphabet" (Kingfisher, $19.99, ages 4 up) may be an ABC book. But that doesn't mean it's for the youngest readers. Written and illustrated by Mike Haines and Julia Frohlich, this pop-up is a lovely book for readers old enough to be careful with it, and it's also a fun stocking stuffer for grown-up animal lovers. Each two-page spread features a photograph of an animal (for example, "Q"is for "Quetzal"), plus a brief description on one page. On the opposite page, there's a large version of the alphabet letter with an additional paper-engineered flourish. (For example, as readers fully open the "Q" two-page spread, they help reveal the quetzal's tail to make the "Q"complete.)
• Robert Sabuda (http://www.robertsabuda.com/) is known as the "Prince of Pop-ups," and his latest offering — "Beauty and the Beast" (Little Simon, $29.99, ages 5 up) — shows why. The word "stunning" ay be overused, but it is perhaps the only — and best — description for this book. Open the pages and you'll find not only the series of "classic" pop-ups that take up much of each two-page spread, but tiny, charming pop-ups along the sides of the pages. On the first two-page spread, for example, readers can open a panel on the left-hand page that has small pop-ups along with the text; then, on the right-hand page, there are three exquisite pop-ups offering amazing kaleidoscope views into the castle. This also would make a great gift for the adult fairy-tale lover in your life.
• Superhero fans of all ages will delight in Matthew Reinhart's newest pop-up book, "DC Super Heroes: The Ultimate Pop-Up Book" (Little Brown, $29.99, ages 5 up). Like Sabuda, Reinhart is one of the major pop-up creators today, and in "DC Super Heroes," he's outdone himself. The book is packed with more than 25 pop-ups of such popular figures as Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. And in a new twist, batteries installed at the back of the book power a light-up Bat-Signal and other parts of the book.
• Kids can learn the mechanics of pop-up books and create their own pop-up pages with "Pop-Up" (Candlewick Press, $19.99, ages 7 up). In this book, created by author/paper engineer Ruth Wickings and illustrator Frances Castle, kids learn pop-up basics in "mini-master classes," and then get to create four different pop-up pictures. It's a great combination of learning and hands-on fun for both kids and adults interested in paper engineering.
• Combine giant color pop-up photographs of animals in motion with easy-to-read facts about them and you've got "Animal Pop!" (National Geographic, $14.95, ages 4-8). If you've got a young animal lover in your house, this book offers both entertaining and educational fun, and, of course, the photos are spectacular.
• Authors/illustrators Lucio and Meera Santoro bring kids a 3-D look at the world beneath the sea in "Wild Oceans" (Little Simon/Simon & Schuster, $ 27.99, ages 5 up). Kids will particularly enjoy the way that some of the pop-ups "swing"on the pages, a technique that really helps the illustrations come further to life.
• If you've got a young vehicle fan in your house, then check out "Robert Crowther's Amazing Pop-up Big Machines" (Candlewick Press, $17.99, ages 4 up). All of the preschooler's favorite machines, from the bulldozer to the tractor to the dump truck, are here in pop-up fashion. Kids also can add to some of the machines with the paper pieces included with the book.
Karen MacPherson, the children's/teen librarian at the Takoma Park, Md., Library, can be reached at Kam.Macpherson@gmail.com.
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