Whether they feature classic characters or an all-new cast of kids and creatures, pop-up books are irresistible to young readers. “They’re special because they draw children in and engage them,” says Lindsay O’Donnell, library media specialist at Fort Garrison Elementary School in Pikesville, Maryland. “The three-dimensional illustrations create a ‘wow’ factor that makes even the most reluctant readers want to pick the books up.”
And when it comes to boosting your child’s cognitive development, pop-ups may have an advantage over e-books and story apps. “They’re great for children who learn best by sight and touch because both text and movable pictures tell the story,” says O’Donnell. Here, four of KIWI’s favorite new pop-up books:
0-20 Pop-Up Numbers by David Hawcock ($13, Tango Books, ages 3-5)
Learning numbers is tons of fun when you can see and feel them! This chunky book is the perfect size for small hands and is super-easy to read, with each number spelled out in large, bold print. The expertise of the author, a paper engineer, is evident—the pages are thick and meant to last. Sweet and simple illustrations of butterflies, robots, and more are the perfect complement to the book’s modern design.
The Color Monster: A Pop-up Book of Feelings by Anna Llenas ($14, Sterling Children’s Books, ages 3-7)
In this clever story, kids learn how to recognize their emotions as the Color Monster tries to sort out his own. Each feeling is assigned its own color, like sunny yellow for happy and blazing red for angry, providing children with a clear and simple way to describe their emotions to adults. Cute pop-ups of the Color Monster demonstrating his feelings—lying in a hammock on a calm, green day, for example—help make the information memorable.
That’s My Hat! by Anouck Boisrobert and Louis Rigaud ($17, Thames & Hudson, ages 3 and up)
What would your child do if his hat sailed away on a windy day—and landed near the monkey habitat at the zoo? Each page of That’s My Hat! pops with fun as kids follow the adventures of a little boy in search of his hat. Will he catch it before the monkey takes it to a park with trees you can touch? Or to a bakery where the breads and pies leap off the page? Be prepared for a lively chase.
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry ($39, HMH Books for Young Readers, ages 10-12)
Pull-tabs, flaps, and beautiful paper sculptures bring this enchanting, universally loved tale to life. No child will be able to resist joining the Little Prince as he climbs a mountain, meets a slithering snake in Africa, and watches a lamplighter tend to his duties. The timeless message of the book shines through, encouraging readers to see the world with their hearts.