Kids + Teens

6 Interactive Board Books That Babies + Toddlers Will Adore

When my cousin was a baby, he was always fixated on one item at a time. First it was this giant tennis ball, then it was his dad’s 1980s pump-up sneakers (that never seemed to not need pumping up: see Exhibit A), but with a bookseller father, this item was often a book. 

Every few months the book would change, but when he was enamored with a particular book, nothing else would do. While his parents were slowly going mad from reading The Hungry Caterpillar for the millionth time, I tried to figure out how I could get him to move onto the next book. 

This is not a unique occurrence. Many babies become attached to a certain book in an often comical way (see Exhibit B). As book publishers, we hear from parents all the time about these committed, intense relationships between book and child. One particular parent reported her baby would not be happy unless she was read to from a tattered copy of the Oxford Thesaurus, but turns out she was mostly interested in ripping the pages. So for all those parents out there who are sick of reading the same book over and over again, we have some books that, after extensive research, are enticing enough to break the pattern and successfully lure baby to a new book!*

*We cannot guarantee these books will not become the new favorite and that you will have to read them over and over and over and over…

See them in action below!

1. Peek-a Who? by Nina Laden

Peek a Who by Nina Laden

Have you played peek-a-boo with your baby until your hands hurt, and yet they are still entertained? Fear not! Peek-a Who? is book that plays peek-a-boo for you! Peek through each page and guess the animal on the other side—it’s a who-t. Check out Peek-a Boo!, Peek-a Zoo!, and, coming soon, Peek-a Choo-choo!

2. I Can Dance by Betsy Snyder

I Can Dance by Betsy Snyder

What other book transforms your fingers into dancing legs like I Can Dance? Sometimes simply wiggling your fingers at your baby can make them giggle, so turn your fingers into a soccer player’s legs making a goal or a ballerina doing a plié will distract your baby from a meltdown. Check out I Can Play for even more antics.

3. Trains Go by Steve Light

Trains Go by Steve Light

If the size and shape of Trains Go isn’t interesting enough for you and your baby, open the cover and find colorful images and fun noises to entrance any little one. Trucks? Cars? Boats? Diggers? Planes? We’ve got a book for each of these, illustrated by the talented Steve Light. 

4. Who’s Hiding with Penguin? by Vincent Mathy

Who's Hiding with Penguin? by Vincent Mathy

Play a game of hide-and-seek from the comfort of your favorite reading nook with Who’s Hiding with Penguin?. Find out who is hiding with Penguin and Tiger, and try to guess which animal is on the next page with art from the delightful Vincent Mathy.

5. In My Tree by Sara Gillingham, illustrated by Lorena Siminovich

In My Tree by Sara Gillingham

You can never go wrong with finger puppets to grab a baby’s attention, and In My Tree is no exception. With cute cut-out pages and sweet colorful illustrations, the puppet peeks out on every page. If your baby loves it, be sure to check out In My Nest, too!

6. Let’s Bake a Cake! by Anne-Sophie Baumann, illustrated by Hélène Convert

Let's Bake a Cake! by Anne-Sophie Baumann

With every type of pull-tab, touch and feel, and pop-up you can imagine, Let’s Bake a Cake! is almost as fun as baking in real life—and mess free.

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Pledge to give books

Featured image by Janssen from Everyday Reading

All other images by Irene Kim Shepherd

Hannah Moushabeck

Hannah is the Associate Marketing Manager for Chronicle children's books. She is an all-round book nerd, born into a family of book nerds. She can be bribed with avocados and picture books.
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  • Michele September 24, 2016 at 3:16 am

    Well, my children were babies a looooong time ago but they were always fascinated by interactive books like these ans so was I!!! These look awesome, I have friends who have young children and will share this post😉


  • Tommy Wang May 14, 2017 at 1:00 am

    Great list!!! My wife and I also enjoy making interactive books by having children create sound and music that correspond with the imagery and narrative.


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