I’m lucky to have a job that allows me to the opportunity to preview countless kids’ books each year. But admittedly, it often feels like a neverending stream of the same-old. However recently, I’ve noticed a trend of well-designed, beautifully executed look-and-find books for kids that really are standouts.
What I love so much about these 5 in particular — aside from the fact that they entertain my kids much longer than a traditional book — is the design aesthetic from the authors and illustrators.
I’m grateful that publishers out there recognize even a preschooler can learn to appreciate good art. And that there are enough of us out there who can appreciate a good, artful book for our kids.
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The Lost House, The Lost Picnic
I was instantly smitten with B. B. Cronin’s book The Lost House last year (shown at very top) and now there’s another adventure for Grandad and his grandkids to go on in The Lost Picnic, which is just as quirky and charming. Items keep falling out of their picnic basket, and the reader must find them among busy spreads of curious characters.
Seek and Find Classics
Ooh, literary lovers will really enjoy gifting the new seek-and-find books Pride and Prejudice (illustrated by Gemma Cooper) and A Christmas Carol (illustrated by Sarah Powell). Two more titles are coming up, so you can round off your collection with Alice in Wonderland (illustrated by Isabel Muñoz) and The Jungle Book (illustrated by Federica Frenna) in January. I haven’t seen hard copies of these yet, but I love the concept, and the art looks just fantastic. If you’re a fan of Baby Lit, I imagine you’ll dig these too.
Look for Ladybug in Plant City
Katherine Manolessou’s Look for Ladybug in Plant City seek-and-find book actually has a narrative — which many books in this genre don’t. On every page, you’ll be on the lookout for the ladybug, her owner, and the detective who’s also looking for her. (Meta, I know.) It’s a great interactive book for reading to kids on your lap, because it’s so fun to calling out the quirky, funny scenes — cats selling tickets! A taxi full of owls! — while letting your kids track down the hidden characters.
I love illustrator Anders Arhoj’s bright, imaginative illustrative style in his new book, Find Me. It’s slightly more challenging than some of the other books here — perfect for those kids who can keep up with finding Waldo. The little guy you’re looking for in each illustration changes color from page to page, making the hunt even more challenging. See him above, wearing a party hat and peeking out of the door on the tree on the right.
Art Up Close
Art Up Close by Claire d’Harcourt is actually a slightly older book that’s been re-released and newly updated, and it’s just fantastic. Each page focuses on a particular work of art, from Arabic manuscripts to Japanese wood prints to Renoir’s impressionism to the modernism of Jackson Pollock. Kids are instructed to find tiny elements within each work of art, but they’re also getting a great education about art masters themselves.