I love quirky lift the flap books. I love it when they are smart and innovative and have beautiful design. When the flaps are really incorporated into the concept of the book and stretch the minds of the readers.
Three of my recent favourites are Who is in the Tree that Shouldn’t be? by Craig Shuttlewood (Templar), Little Tree by Jenny Bowers (Big Picture Press) and Peep Inside the Zoo from Usborne. They are very different books but all deliver wonderful design and use the flaps to create something unique and delicious.
Who is in the Tree that Shouldn’t be? initially appears to be a book where children lift a flap to discover the hidden character on each spread. Young children love this concept and it offers a brilliantly interactive reading experience for little ones. But this book doesn’t stop there, it gives oh so much more. Each beautifully designed double spread shows a different habitat – a tree, the desert, underwater, even deep space- and children are asked to find the animal that shouldn’t be there. Under the flap on each spread is an out-of-place creature looking suitably bewildered. One of the things I love about this book is the characterisation of these creatures, beautifully done just through their wide eyes. Just look at this bewildered octopus!
Children can hunt through the book matching the creatures to the correct habitats and giggling over the lost-looking ones in the wrong places. As they are spotted, the creatures congregate in the bottom right corner of the book as visual clues to help children match them to their real habitats. The text is rhyming and each creature on the spread adds a rhyming snippet of their own, a lovely touch which really adds to the humour of this book and ups the appeal for older children.
A perfect spring board for discussion about habitats, animal names, animal groups, or for rhyming games, this has a lot to offer and will appeal to a wider age range than basic lift-and-find books. Full of fun with gorgeous design and detail, Who is in the Tree that Shouldn’t be? will keep adults smiling as well as the children they are sharing it with. Spot on!
Little Tree is stunning!
Beautifully illustrated and designed, this is a stroke-worthy book. Following a little tree and it’s surroundings through a year, Little Tree shows children the beauty and wonder of the seasons whilst teaching about life cycles and nature.
The flaps are used in the way that non-fiction books traditionally use labels – they highlight, reveal and name parts of the illustrations. But Little Tree takes it a step further. Although each double spread looks completely different, each shows the same area in the wood – the growing little tree on the right and a mature tree on the left. Every page turn shows how nature has developed through the seasons. By placing a flap over the same place on each spread, Jenny Bowers has used the revelatory nature of flaps to show children how a tree changes over a year. The flap covering a hole in the mature tree trunk shows an insect in winter, a nest with eggs and then chicks in spring, birds in flight in summer, and then a squirrel and a mouse using the empty nest. This really gives the book a sense of progression and development and opens up a world of discussion points.
There is so much to look at and talk about in this book. The gentle rhyming text, the creatures that appear across the pages and under the flaps, the developing little tree and the changing seasons, the colours that are used to such wonderful effect. This really is a joy to share and explore. It would be perfect to share with a class of children for a topic on seasons, life cycles, or colours. Imagine the art work or poetry this could inspire. Imagine, imagine, imagine.
Peep Inside the Zoo is a finding out book with a difference.
Like Who is in the Tree that Shouldn’t be?, Peep Inside the Zoo speaks directly to the reader, asking them to explore the zoo. Each spread focuses on a different species at the zoo and uses the flaps to give children fun facts and additional information.
Little peep holes add interest and give you a sneak peek at what’s to come on the next page. With so much to look at and learn about on each page, this will appeal to a wide age range and grow with children as they access the book in new ways.
Also perfect for that tricky stage where children are just learning to read independently and want small chunks of text that doesn’t talk down to them. Bravo!
You know what else is great about all three of these books? They are not gendered! They are beautiful, innovative, fun and for all children. Hurrah for that!
Who is in the Tree that Shouldn’t be? kindly sent for review by Templar Publishing, now heading to The Rainbow Library.
Little Tree – kindly sent for review by Big Picture Press, now heading to The Rainbow Library.
Peep Inside the Zoo – purchased for Rhino Reads shelves.