What are some awesome lift-the-flap books (for kids and grownups)?
December 5, 2014 8:10 AM   Subscribe

I love books with flaps, windows, tabs, slides, wheels and other clever ways of interacting with the reader. Fortunately for me, I also have 2 small children, currently ages 1 and 4, who also love lift-the-flap books. But we need more. MORE FLAPS.

Please tell me your favorite books of this type, for ALL ages. (This can include books too fragile or expensive for kids as well as books for older kids). I am NOT as into pop-up books for whatever reason, although I'm happy to hear about really great ones or ones where the pop-up mechanism actually does something besides pop up. I will probably give some of these as gifts as well as to augment our existing collection as our current lift-the-flap books slowly lose their flaps to an excited toddler.

Some examples of baby books we love:
Dear Zoo
Inside Freight Train

Slightly older kid books:
The Tale of Two Mice
Under the Hood
Machines Go to Work in the City

Adult books I have liked
Building Stories
Many of the issues of McSweeney's (e.g. this one)
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis to Shopping (36 answers total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
I had an incredible one about the life of Leonardo Da Vinci when I was a kid. It had all kinds of cool interactive bits in it, like flapping the wings of a flying machine, making the stars circle overhead, etc.

I found it on Amazon. Unfortunately it's out of print and used copies are $177.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:17 AM on December 5, 2014 [3 favorites]

Richard Scarry's All Around Busytown is amazing in its attention to detail.
posted by ignignokt at 8:25 AM on December 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

See Inside Trains is a favorite with my 3-year-old.

Tons of Trucks was very popular for a while.
posted by purpleclover at 8:26 AM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's not quite lift the flap, but I will recommend the book Gallop!. Here's a video showing it.
posted by gudrun at 8:31 AM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Tales from Acorn Woods are great for the preschool set. They're by the same author illustrator pair who did The Gruffalo. The illustrations have personality, and the rhymed story actually scans unlike so many kids books these days.
posted by alms at 8:32 AM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Go Away Big Green Monster was a hit with my preschool students.
posted by kathrynm at 8:34 AM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

On the adult tip, you should check out "The Strange Library" by Murakami, "S" by JJ Abrams, and especially all of the books in the Griffin & Sabine series by Nick Bantock.
posted by jbickers at 8:38 AM on December 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

Check out the works of Robert Sabuda - get hands-on if you can. They're primarily pop-up books, but incredibly intricate and beautiful. Some of the books have interactive elements as well. Definitely on the more fragile end, but kids (and adults!) love them.
posted by okayokayigive at 8:48 AM on December 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

Just came here to recommend Griffin & Sabine as well. I was fascinated by this as an 8 year old and my parents actually bought me the set, though in retrospect they were probably a bit advanced for my age. But they're wonderful.
posted by peacheater at 8:48 AM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Aunt Sallie's Lament is a gorgeous bit of book art, and I think (it's been a little while) suitable for children, sort of lyrical and fun to listen to.
posted by kmennie at 8:50 AM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have *very* fond memories of a pop-up/interactive/flaps copy of The Dwindling Party by Edward Gorey. It seems hard to get hold of now, but worth looking out for second hand.
It is, obviously, about strange and gothic deaths, but I remember getting it for a birthday and showing it off at school, aged c.7 or 8, so maybe give it a year or two?
posted by AFII at 8:55 AM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Doesn't look like it's currently in production, but if you can get a decent copy of Explore the Tropical Rainforest, you and your child will be fascinated for hours. Very interactive, with intricate popups, flaps, pull tabs, and wheels on each page. Definitely for an elementary-aged kid rather than a toddler, though.
posted by Liesl at 8:59 AM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Haunted House by Jan Pienkowski. It's available on Amazon but Google images from it to get an idea of just how awesome the book is. At first it just looks like a pop up book, but every single page has flaps that lift up, dials that turn, things that move & happen. If you think they are simply pop up books you aren't looking at the details. It really does do more than just pop up and even adults that read the book get fascinated by it as you find new little things on each page every time. OH and Robot is good by the same author. They have also done a few simpler ones that are just plain pop up books but they aren't as good.

There is another as awesome one about a museum but I can't remember the name of it and I suspect it is also by Pienkowski but I am going from memory.
posted by wwax at 9:08 AM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Fisher-Price: Who Lives in the Rainforest?: Discovering Animals is popular with my 1 and 3 y.o.
posted by nickggully at 9:16 AM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Ologies books? They are definitely for older kids, and have lots of non-flap materials as well (small mini-books, "artifacts", etc). Maybe more for you than your kids at this point, but they are ridiculously popular with older elementary students at my library - they circ so much and have so many little bits, I have to replace them once every 2 years or so. Your 4 year old might like them in small doses, and they'll certainly enjoy them more when they're older.
posted by Knicke at 9:26 AM on December 5, 2014 [3 favorites]

One more vote for Robert Sabuda! I have his Alice in Wonderland pop-up book - it has a bunch of interactive elements in it - flaps to lift, tabs to pull, some other bells and whistles. I think it really uses the form in the best way possible to tell the story, and adds elements you don't always expect - a white rose gets painted red, and on one page the action of the pop-up unfolding also manages to make the cook shake pepper realistically into a pot. It's practically animated. I really love it. Someone made a whole youtube video flipping through it if you're interested in checking it out.
posted by 9000condiments at 9:32 AM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

We're Going On A Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen is a favourite in our family, and this version has flaps, sliders, the works. My nieces love it (as do I!)
posted by billiebee at 9:35 AM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

How Many Bugs in a Box? by David A. Carter.
And here's Bowdoin College's PopUp roundup from 2011.
posted by xaryts at 9:50 AM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

I came in to mention the Ologies books, but Knicke beat me to it! :)

There is also Fairyopolis and related books.

Lots of fun!
posted by Boogiechild at 9:56 AM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

My Granny's Purse
posted by tamitang at 10:24 AM on December 5, 2014

Sam's Sandwich
posted by tamitang at 10:27 AM on December 5, 2014

All of the Fisher Price lift-the-flap books are entertaining because they have several flaps on each page, though they're not *great* books. We also love the Guess How Much I Love You pop-up, which has all sorts of neat mechanisms - unfortunately they're somewhat fragile.
posted by Safiya at 10:29 AM on December 5, 2014

One of the books that sticks in my mind from childhood is this one about airplanes. (I think it's this one. I can't find an image of the cover to confirm.)
and my favorite Christmas book was Jingle Bugs ( apparently there are more "bugs" books in the series.)
posted by missriss89 at 10:38 AM on December 5, 2014

Oh, it's the same series as the one xaryts suggested!
posted by missriss89 at 10:39 AM on December 5, 2014

When my children were little I discovered animal and nature oriented books by Maurice Pledger. They are really beautiful, clever pop-up and lift the flap surprise books. I see your overall dislike of pop-ups, but I do think these are different and special. The pop-ups usually reveal something that is hiding from the animal characters. They are lovely enough that several of them made it into the "save forever" box.
posted by Bresciabouvier at 11:06 AM on December 5, 2014

Best answer: WTF people, how have you not suggested Where's Spot yet?
Spot is for your baby. He stars in quite a few books. My 1 year old is in love with Spot.

ETA: somehow i originally linked to the Kindle version. I am now annoyed at the world that there exists a kindle version of a baby lift the flap book.
posted by telepanda at 11:09 AM on December 5, 2014 [6 favorites]

The Happy Little Yellow Box!
Moomin's Lift-The-Flap Hide And Seek!
A New House For Mouse! (Peep-through rather than lift-the-flap, but super good anyway).

posted by ZipRibbons at 11:30 AM on December 5, 2014

I read all these suggestions waiting to see Where's Spot, and finally telepanda got to it. It is the BEST for very young children. A hide and seek game while sitting in your lap.

Another book my kids liked is The Monster at the End of this Book. It does not have flaps, but it has suspense on each page so that just turning the pages is the activity which inspires squeals of delight. Grover is constantly warning your child "Do not turn the page, PLEASE!!!" and then "Oh, No, you turned the page!!"
posted by CathyG at 12:00 PM on December 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

Some of the Maisy books are lift-the-flap and are very sweet, best for the young crowd. Karen Katz has a whole series of lift-the-flap books, these are very short with sometimes just one word on a page, but when my kids were young they seemed to love them the most, especially the one where you are looking for..mommy or baby, I think, it's a hide-and-seek format. Another one they especially liked of Katz was the body parts book - lift the flap - see the knee, belly button, etc.

I just checked out Flora and the Penguin (apparently there is also an older book Flora and the Flamingo) and it is a wordless lift-the-flap book. Lastly, I really love a series of books called "A First Discovery," mainly by Scholastic, I think. These books are spiral-bound and cover topics such as pyramids, seashores, cars, etc. and have see-through pages that let you see inside and break apart ideas. A good compromise between the two ages and some fun for adults.
posted by dawg-proud at 1:10 PM on December 5, 2014

Seconding Karen Katz. Our 20-month old loves Where Is Baby's Belly Button and Toes Ears & Nose.
posted by slmorri at 2:31 PM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Jolly Postman by Allan & Janet Ahlberg is delightful. It has lots of teeny letters from fairy tale characters that you can take out and read.
posted by meggan at 5:33 PM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

My daughter also loved Karen Katz when she was small. Her other favorites were Pat the Cat (which is both lift the flap and other tactile things, and part of whole series of "Touch & Feel" books), First Concepts Opposites (which intrigued her though their other titles did not), Tonka's Look Inside Trucks (she loved me reading what was inside of everything), My First Word Lift-the-Flap Board Book (this one actually entertained her even without adult help and it was strong enough to withstand her love), and There Are Cats in This Book (which she enjoyed a bit older, age 2 or 3, needed adult help to not rip the pages, more interactive book than precisely lift the flap). She did also enjoy the Where's Spot series enough that we had a number of them, but some of the later ones get really tedious to adults.
posted by Margalo Epps at 7:29 PM on December 5, 2014

Birds of a Feather is a huge book with a ton of big, bright, amazing flap-lifting action. It is so fun and impressive. A toddler will need to be supervised with it, but a slightly older kiddo will love it. Looks like there are two others in the series - The Open Ocean and Out of Sight - but I haven't played with those ones.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:39 PM on December 5, 2014

Ok this is more of a pop-up book BUT the pop-ups have flaps and strips and whatnot and it is pretty great: ABC3D.
posted by grapesaresour at 11:38 PM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

How about The Most Amazing Hide-and-Seek Alphabet Book by Robert Crowther? Each page has just a plain black lower-case letter on it, until you pull a tab or lift a flap and find the hidden animal. It's delightful. I'd imagine his other books are well worth a look too, but that's the only one I've had a chance to play with.

Another name to look out for is Ron van der Meer. I can vouch personally for Monster Island.

Seconding the recommendation of Jan Pienkowski, too - Robot [link is to a YouTube readthrough of the book!] and Haunted House are definitely the best, though his simpler pop-up books are also great.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 9:35 AM on December 6, 2014

The Wide-Mouthed Frog is a pop-up book, good for reading to toddlers, with different voices.

What's Inside: See-through pages and magic surprises by OKIDO is possible. I haven't actually handled it, but it was on a few best-of lists last year. The pages have a front (like a picture of a castle), and then you hold them up to the light to see through to the "inside" part (a cutaway of the interior of the castle).
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:02 PM on December 6, 2014

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