Picture Books for the Road

Picture Books for the Road

When I was given my list of responsibilities as the new Youth Services Coordinator for Central Rappahannock Regional Library and found writing this column was among them, my first question was about the content. Was I supposed to write about something in particular? When I was told it was all about books, I felt like a kid in a candy store. So many options! Where do I start? My mind began racing, and I came up with a long list of ideas, which I will be mining in the weeks to come, but, for my inaugural column, I decided to go with something that was fresh in my mind: family vacations and what to do with bored kids in the car and on the airplane. My family and I recently returned from a vacation involving several hours in airplanes and cars, and it got me thinking about great books to keep younger children entertained. These are also great books to have at your house for young visitors.

Press Here by Hervé Tullet

Press Here is a fun, interactive book that will get looks of amazement and then giggles from young readers as they follow the instructions and see the dots and colors on each page transform. Follow the instructions to “press here” on the page with one yellow dot, and, on the next page, two yellow dots have magically appeared. Follow the instructions to shake the book, and, on the next page, find the rows of dots have gotten all in a jumble. This is an especially engaging book for toddlers, who will be saying “Again!” to this book, wanting to try it over and over. Tullet’s books Mix it Up! and Let’s Play! are similarly interactive and a great place to go after spending some time with Press Here.

Don’t Push the Button! by Bill CotterPicture Books for the Road

Like Press Here, Don’t Push the Button is an interactive book, asking the reader to do (or not do) certain things such as shaking the book and not pushing the button. In Don’t Push the Button, Larry the monster leads readers through the book, giving advice on how best to proceed. Larry knows you should not push the button in the book and tells you so. But it is such a lovely, inviting, bright red button. What’s the worst that could happen if you press it just once? Try it, and find out in this silly book for preschoolers that will bring lots of giggles.

Elephant & Piggie books by Mo Willems

Mo Willems is one of my favorite authors of picture books for young children. His sense of humor is entertaining for children, as well as for the adults who may be reading alongside. Willems’ Elephant and Piggie series is particularly accessible for beginning readers, with just a few words per page, bold illustrations and hilarious characters. If your child Picture Books for the Roadis already reading independently, have her or him read the voice of Piggie, and you read the voice of Gerald (the elephant), or vice versa. If you have two children, have them each take a character in the book and read it out loud or even act it out (Gerald and Piggie have some pretty humorous interactions). Laughs are sure to result!

When you are traveling, remember you can take the library with you. CRRL Mobile, the library's mobile app, and apps from OverDrive, RBdigital (formally OneClickDigital), and Freading mean you can check out eBooks and eAudio on the go, no matter where your travels take you. Keep those young ones reading all summer long, even when you are on the road!

This article first appeared in The Free Lance-Star newspaper.