Interactive books for toddlers were a thing I didn’t know I needed until recently. Somehow, I missed this, and now I have some catching up to do. For a great introduction to interactive books for toddlers, start with 10 terrific touch-and-feel books. It has some interesting history on touch-and-feel books in addition to a great list to start off the littlest of tactile readers. And if you’re looking for music to share with very small humans, try this awesome list of 18 interactive music books for toddlers.
Below, I have even more titles for you to explore in two groups: touch-and-feel interactive toddler books and titles that ask readers to do things along with the story (like blowing out a fire or sliding sideways in the bathtub — that sort of thing). Now that I have read quite a few titles in this area, I can’t believe I didn’t start these earlier.
I seriously wonder if interactive toddler books should be read aloud to adult groups, too. Why should small humans have all the fun? But I guess that happens when you read aloud to a group of toddlers: they rarely come alone, I’ve noticed. So there are some adults who get to enjoy these, too. If any of you out there starts an adult read-aloud group with these, I hope you will save me a seat — preferably on a bean bag or an extra-large stuffed toy that can accommodate an adult-sized butt. I want to look cool while I’m pretending to be a mouse chomping on cheese or a dragon blowing out imaginary fires.
Baby Animals (Bright Baby Touch and Feel) by Priddy Books
Priddy Books has a good range of touch-and-feel and pop-up books that would interest little readers. This one has lots of baby animals, and the copy I had was so well-worn that eventually, all the “baby fur” fell out in places. Clearly, that is the sign of a well-loved touch-and-feel book!
Never Touch a Dinosaur by Rosie Greening and Stuart Lynch
This cute little rhyming story offers sound advice about not touching extinct creatures. I liked the bumpiness of this book after all the soft, furry titles out there. I also liked that if a kid got peanut butter or jam on this one, I’m pretty sure I could just wipe it off and keep going. While I haven’t had to do that, I also suspect that the plastic parts of this book could be repurposed as kitchen scrubbers, so I am just throwing that out there as an added bonus. If you like this title, you can also try her others like Never Touch a Monster or a shark or a porcupine or even this one: Never Touch the Grumpy Pumpkins. Yup, even grouchy gourds are available.
Happy Birthday Touch and Feel by Little Hippo Books
A lot of these kind of touch-and-feel books are focused on animals, which makes sense. If you’re looking for a different approach, here is one that lets little readers touch a birthday cupcake, count balloons, and blow out candles. It might be the perfect choice for an audience that wants to feel and participate in the birthday celebration.
Touch and Feel Trucks by Little Hippo Books
Little Hippo Books also has a broad range of touch-and-feel books for different reader tastes. I really like this because it includes something other than animals, but of course, they have a lot of titles, like Five Silly Sloths, for young readers to get to know. They also have a pretty one with a peacock, but it gives away its feathers, and somehow, the self-sacrifice part of the story was too much for me. Maybe I’m reading too much into that one, but I prefer trucks and, of course, sloths!
Scratchie: A Touch and Feel Cat-Venture by Maria Putri
This book will let you scratch all the things! And also pet an adorable soft kitty at the end, so I recommend it highly for lots of little readers. In real life, I do not have any animals because, y’all, I cannot possibly take on any more life responsibilities at the moment (even though I wish I had a real cat). However, books aren’t the same as animals, so I suggest you adopt a copy of this one for your own household very soon.
Interactive Books that Ask Readers to Play Along
Yum Yum!: An Interactive Book All About Eating! by Yusuke Yonezu
This book is so adorable it’s ridiculous, and it’s the perfect interactive book for 2-year-olds. Short sentences tell you which food each animal loves. When you turn the page, it looks like the little animal is eating the food with a big, happy grin on its face. Colorful and fun, I suggest making chomping noises and funny faces after turning the page, but of course, you can let your audience decide. You might also like Sharing by Yonezu.
Stomp, Wiggle, Clap, and Tap: My First Book of Dance by Rachelle Burk and Alyssa de Asis
I picked this up because of the beautiful illustrations. It has a great note to caregivers extolling the benefits of dance and encouraging them to dance along with their little “motion machines.” I can’t think of better life advice. It also has some suggested resources at the end to keep those little kids moving. If you can stand it, there are always Baby Shark songs galore. If you like the art in this book, you could also try Chasing God’s Glory by Dorina Lazo-Gilmore Young and illustrated by Alyssa De Asis. As the name implies, it is focused on a view of life that embraces a God. While I am not the target audience per se, I loved the author’s focus on the joys of life all around us and the vibrant illustrations.
Where are the Eggs? by Grace Lin
Apparently, this is part of a series called Storytelling Math, but I picked this book about spatial reasoning told through searching for eggs because Grace Lin’s name is on it. That was enough for me. Lin is a Taiwanese American author who has won a slew of awards, including the Caldecott Medal and the Children’s Literature Legacy Award. If you’re not familiar with Lin’s other books, definitely read The Last Marshmallow and A Big Mooncake for Little Star.
You are Getting Sleepy by Lori Alexander and Monica Mikai
I wish this book could guarantee sleep, but I hate to break it to you, it can’t. I will be honest: you may be the only reader rocked gently to sleep by this, but it’s worth a try. The author takes baby through the various steps before bed, and Monica Mikai’s accompanying illustrations are just lovely. At least you will enjoy it while you’re trying to get your little one off to dreamland.
Shapes at Play by Jin Choi
This is a wordless book, so it might not be everyone’s jam, but you should try it out because the way the shapes fit together is pretty awesome. It might not even require that you help a little one read this — you can just turn the pages and ooh and aah along with them. If you like this, also try Wiggles: Interactive Board Book for a book that asks you to follow the lines and waves together with your fingers. It was pretty engaging for the small humans I tested it with.
Get out of my Bath! by Britta Teckentrup
I love all the books I’ve read by Britta Teckentrup. It would be very hard to pick a favorite, so I won’t even try, but small humans everywhere will enjoy this interactive toddler book that asks them to tip it from side to side as Ellie the elephant slides around her bath. Your little people might also really love The Tiptoe Tiger by Jane Clarke with Teckentrup’s lovely illustrations. And if you’re reading to bigger kids who can find matching pairs, you should really get some of her Where’s the Pair books. You will love them!
The Cat Book by Silvia Borando
My household loved this and also Borando’s The Hamster Book. Both tell you to name your pet and then give you cute little directions for what to do. Wake your kitty up, pet it, keep it from getting wet, and make it cough up a bird. Yup, pure cat nip in this household and sure to be a little people-crowdpleaser.
Whose Toes are Those? by Jabari Asim and LeUyen Pham
I don’t remember this book telling the reader to do anything in particular, but I do think it will easily lend itself to some playful counting of toes. It’s very sweet and seems like a natural choice to read to little people who may have just recently realized what toes are. So cute.
There’s a Dragon in Your Book (Who’s in Your Book?) by Tom Fletcher and Greg Abbott
What is it with children and dragons? They seem to be a natural combination, and this interactive picture book will capture the hearts of your tiny humans. I love this story where you’re asked to help put out some accidental fires. Just be prepared that when you get to the last page, you’re likely to hear cries of “Again! Again!” which is, of course, the highest form of toddler praise.
I have one more book to add, but it’s for older kids: You Do You-nicorn. I love this title so much that I have to recommend it here. It comes with a punch-out unicorn headband, and I think that was basically made for me. It’s technically not for toddlers, but I imagine more people need this kind of awesome in their lives. I know I do. And if you’re wondering if you’re the only one, read this publishing craze wish for touch-and-feel books for adults because, yes, we have you covered on all fronts here at Book Riot.