Books make the best baby gifts, especially when you know it’s not a book that the mom has already been showered with 14 times. And now there’s a whole new kind of board book series just launched that’s aiming not only to freshen up the genre, but maybe even reinvent it.

TouchThinkLearn books by Xavier Deneux | Cool Mom Picks

Xavier Deneux is a wonderful French illustrator who jumped into the baby book game a few years ago. Now he’s out with TouchThinkLearn: Colors and TouchThinkLearn: Opposites, the pages of which feel more like works of art or interactive sculpture, designed encourage kids to engage with the books in a multi-sensory way.

In both books, the opposing pages are 3-dimensional, connecting to each other thematically and literally–so the left page is raised, the right one scooped out, and they fit together when the page shuts.

TouchThinkLearn: Colors | Cool Mom Picks

In Colors, the basics come to live with gorgeous texture and color–purple flowers, brown teddy bears, green leaves with a caterpillar crawling up one side.


TouchThinkLearn: Opposites | Cool Mom Picks

In Opposites, which is easily the most engaging book of opposites I’ve seen, the connections are even deeper. Small/big doesn’t just feature something small and something big; but instead a baby bird in a teeny round tree on the right, and on the left, a mama bird in that same scooped out hole that’s nestled in a tree trunk. Heavy/light has fun with an elephant and a cloud, and animal lovers will appreciate caged/free which shows a teary lion in a 3-dimensional cage, opposite one with the bars raised inwhich he’s clearly happier–it certainly made my kids laugh.

I really love the minimalist design, the architectural quality of the pages, and the thoughtfulness that went into the concept on each page. As a set they make a fabulous little baby gift– one that kids will love to read together with you, and play with on their own too.

And as we parents know, there’s a whole lot to be said for that. –Liz

Xavier Deneux’s board books TouchThinkLearn: Colors and TouchThinkLearn: Opposites are available for preorder at our affilaite Amazon, shipping July 23; or find them at your local indie bookseller. Expect two more books on Shapes and Numbers in Spring, 2014.

[images via amy yu gray]