Interactive Picture Books

The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak
More than anything else, I wish I thought of this idea first. A picture book with no pictures is probably the only children’s story I could write due to my lack of artistic ability. Even so, it is fine that B.J. Novak thought of it before me; I was very impressed with how he used this concept. I incorrectly assumed there would be some sort of abstract art in the book: shapes, splotches, splashes of color. This book really is true to the title; it is only words. Nothing else. The words alone convey action in ways I rarely see in picture books. The physical words change fonts, styles, sizes and colors. Sound effects and nonsense words are cleverly utilized. The words contain a back and forth conversation, and it is clear who is speaking each time even though the narrators are never defined. This book, to my complete surprise, is one of the best children’s books I ever read. I hope to read it many times again.
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I Spy vs. Where’s Waldo


Before Pinterest, and other time-wasting technological marvels there were books designed to keep your eyes glued to the page in search of that special something. Perhaps the most famous of these hide-and-seek style books are the I Spy and Where’s Waldo titles. In a completely unscientific poll available on FAN IQ 82% of the voters said they would pass on the love of Where’s Waldo and I Spy to their future children. Today Dear Reader, I’m highlighting these books just for you!

In I Spy the reader is invited to engage with each page by hunting down a list of items. The pages are full or bright and colorful photographs with eye-catching items piled together haphazardly.

In Where’s Waldo, the reader is invited to engage with each page by hunting down Waldo as he hides in illustrations. Waldo is that guy with the striped red sweater, the glasses and the funny little bobble head. Waldo has many imposters and as the series progressed he gained a crew of friends you can hunt down too.

These are both great books to keep younger kids quiet. They are challenging and only occasionally frustrating. I read both as a child, teen and adult… my overall favorite is Waldo. Plus, Where’s Waldo appeared on a banned books list, and that makes him a rebel. He might have been my first book crush. Is anyone with me on this?