2018 Year in Review: Interactive Picture Books

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Interactive picture books are THE BEST for reading in storytime and talking to families about print motivation. Did I miss a great book from 2018? Have you tried one of these titles yet? Was it a smashing success or a flop? Please share!

⭐️= favorite

👎= nope


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⭐️Crunch the Shy Dinosaur by Greg Pizzoli
If you want to see more than eyeballs peering out from the shrubs, you’ll have to say hello! But not quite so loudly – now he’s run away! What a fun and gentle introduction to making friends. Read this during a preschool outreach storytime last year to much giggling.

Don’t Tell by Tom Booth
Similar to his earlier Don’t Blink, Booth delivers another fun interactive experience between readers and characters. How did we find this super secret book? Which animal spilled the beans? No one’s fessing up! This is a great one to spark conversation in the classroom about what kinds of things are important to tell and share.

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⭐️Neon Leon by Jane Clarke
Have you ever felt like you stood out like a sore thumb? That’s Leon. This sad little chameleon just can’t get the hang of this camouflage thing. Can you help him out? Read this in storytime twice during my Costumes & Camouflage week, and it went over much better the second time with older preschoolers.

Don’t Blink by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
A posthumous release, this playful interactive picture book about avoiding bedtime is full of fun. I love how the darkness gradually creeps into the illustrations, as if the reader’s eyelids are getting heavy. I also love what’s going on with the typography and see lots of opportunities for incorporating print awareness into the read aloud.

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⭐️Little Penguin Stays Awake by Tadgh Bentley
Little Penguin longs to fly, but can he stay awake long enough to make a wish on a shooting star? Maybe if you help! Love all the interactive Little Penguin books, they are just perfect for storytime.

Will You Help Me Fall Asleep? by Anna Kang
Monty needs your help! The big boat races are tomorrow, but if he doesn’t get to sleep soon, he won’t get to go. Can you help him? This one honestly didn’t do too much for me, I was pretty bored.

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⭐️Shake the Tree by Chiara Vignocchi and Silvia Borando
A little mouse gets more than he bargained for when he shakes the tree in this fun interactive story! Instead of a tasty nutty treat, a hungry fox falls down. Uh-oh! I’ve read this book during several storytimes over the past year. The repetition makes it a great read aloud for all ages. I can’t wait to make it into a flannel!

Hungry Bunny by Claudia Rueda
Bunny’s hungry and needs your help! Can you use his scarf and help him reach new heights? Due to the necessity of using a small red ribbon to interact with this story, I think this book is much better one-on-one than in a storytime setting. It’s a bummer because I loved Bunny Slopes and was really looking forward to this one.

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⭐️Beware the Monster by Michael Escoffier
Watch out, or you just might be this hungry monster’s next meal! How do I love this book? Let me count the ways!

  1. It’s funny!
  2. Great stuff going on with print awareness.
  3. Fantastic illustrations! Love how distance and perspective are portrayed as the Monster gets closer and closer. I’m always on the lookout for books featuring spatial relationships!
  4. Great opportunities in the beginning to pause and help kids build their recall skills. What did the monster eat this time? How is this page different from the last? What’s missing?

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⭐️Huff & Puff by Claudia Rueda
Be the big bad wolf in this fun new interactive take on The Three Little Pigs! I love this fractured fairy tale retelling. Simple enough for toddlers to enjoy, but more sophisticated readers will catch the context clues and really appreciate the sweet surprise at the end. The big, bold, repetitious text goes great with a literacy message about print awareness.

What’s Next Door? by Nicola O’Byrne
Carter the Crocodile can’t find his way home! Can you help him out? This interactive follow up to Open Very Carefully doesn’t disappoint! Every bit as fun and surprising as the first.

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⭐️There’s a Dragon in Your Book by Tom Fletcher
Dragons don’t belong in books, for obvious reasons. When a well-intentioned tickle goes badly awry, readers must use their imagination to help put out the flames! I didn’t like this one as much as There’s a Monster in Your Book, but it’s still a solid storytime title.

I Say Ooh You Say Aah by John Kane
It sounds easy enough to remember, right? Starts simple but soon requires kids to keep track of more and more complicated cues, the most important being ants and underpants. What a silly fun way to build working memory!

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⭐️Crash, Splash, or Moo! by Bob Shea
Can you guess what will happen and win the super secret, special prize? Put your prediction skills to the test in Mr. Monkey’s series of stunt challenges! Spoiler alert: I hope you like bananas. This is a great book for making/explaining predictions and building comprehension skills. Would read with older preschoolers and up.

Pet This Book by Jessica Young & Daniel Wiseman
A cute rhyming, interactive read all about caring for our furry friends. Love the everyday diversity!

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⭐️Play This Book by Jessica Young & Daniel Wiseman
It takes many hands to create a band and make music! This rhyming interactive picture book is an open invitation to make some noise. The instruments make some big and bold sounds, making this a great read for phonological awareness or print awareness. I also love the everyday diversity of the band players! Can’t wait to bust this book out during my next “Move & Groove” storytime!


Want to look back even more? Here’s my take on 2018’s…

Concept Picture Books: Part One and Part Two

Laugh Out Loud Stories: Part One and Part Two

Storytime Nonfiction

Wordless & Nearly Wordless Picture Books

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