Toddler books with lots of things in the pictures?
January 12, 2016 11:40 AM   Subscribe

Our toddler's really into pointing at things in picture books. What books have lots of things for him to point at?

For example, he loves pointing out the moon in Goodnight Moon (and every other book it appears in). The sun and stars are also big hits, as are flowers, bees, and anything that appears in multiples - he likes pointing at all the bubbles here and here.

A lot of the books in our current rotation have straightforward illustrations without a lot of extra stuff (think Mo Willems and P.D. Eastman), so I'd like to add a few books with pictures filled with things for him to point at.

They don't have to be counting books, and the images shouldn't be too difficult for an 18-month-old to pick out (not to mention nameable things, so it's "where's the apple?" and not "where's the abstract purple squiggle?"). Board books are ideal, but that's not a prerequisite.
posted by Metroid Baby to Media & Arts (44 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Richard Scarry's Busy Town and its ilk are great for this.
posted by Etrigan at 11:41 AM on January 12, 2016 [34 favorites]

Seconding Richard Scarry! I remember my little brother trying to find the picture of Lowly Worm in each illustration - it was like a "Where's Waldo" for Gen-X kids.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:44 AM on January 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Came in to recommend Scarry. Also we like Steam Train, Dream Train and its companion volume Good Night Construction Site for this purpose.
posted by KathrynT at 11:44 AM on January 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Richard Scarry, and also Graeme Base, especially Animalia. His pictures are busier than Scarry's, but the book will be interesting longer.
posted by Adridne at 11:46 AM on January 12, 2016 [3 favorites]

Oh, I should mention we do have a few Richard Scarry books. He likes the cars!
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:49 AM on January 12, 2016

If your kiddo likes vehicles, I recommend the books and apps by Byron Barton: Trains, Planes, Cars, and Trucks.
posted by Hermione Granger at 11:51 AM on January 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Look for Ali mitgutsch wimmelbuch Books on amazon. They are German Board Books without Words so Language is no Problem but thousands of Details on each page my son loved them at that Age.
Sorry for all the Typos and lacking Link Cannot do it from iPad.
posted by 15L06 at 12:00 PM on January 12, 2016 [5 favorites]

My two toddlers both like this Team Umizoomi Look and Find book. They also like the TV show, but that's not a prerequisite for enjoying the book. You are shown a bunch of items and you have to try to find them in the picture . For instance, finding different baby animals in a large scene of a zoo.
posted by amro at 12:03 PM on January 12, 2016

Robots, Robots, Everywhere is chockablock with ... mostly robots, but also ice cream and dogs and kids and donuts and cars to point out (toddlerozzy is almost 22 months and this book is out of vogue with her right now, but it's one of the few she's latched onto that I actually enjoyed reading sixteen times a week).
posted by uncleozzy at 12:03 PM on January 12, 2016

I just got someone In The Town All Year Round for exactly this purpose--I really liked the illustrations in it too. Also agreed on Scarry. Animalia does this but the illustrations were a little complex for my kid to parse; as a result he thinks it's scary. YMMV. Another author of busy looking books we like is Masayuki Sebe. They're kind of in the Scarry vein, bright and simply drawn but lots of silliness going on.

Books published by DK are in general really full of gorgeous bright pictures and are available on lots of topics. The text is geared older, but my kindergartner has liked looking at his favorite pages since he was very small. Another set of search terms that may be handy is "seek and find"/ "search and find". You don't have to search for anything, they're good for just looking.
posted by tchemgrrl at 12:08 PM on January 12, 2016 [3 favorites]

My kids (3 and 1) really love the Mamoko books. They are sort of like easy Where's Waldo books, except with a non-written plot continuity that continues on each page for each character. So, each book might have a total of 20 or so simple visual stories. We often decide on a character to "follow" when we start looking at it, then find them on each page and talk about what they're doing.
posted by selfnoise at 12:08 PM on January 12, 2016

Also, if you end up with a kid like mine that really wants illustrations that are as scary as possible, you might check out Pablo and Jane and the Hot Air Contraption.
posted by selfnoise at 12:10 PM on January 12, 2016

I love you all the time.
posted by Kalmya at 12:21 PM on January 12, 2016

Germans love their Wimmelb├╝cher - you could also try Rotraut Susanne Berner, who has books based on the seasons, the night, etc., all with masses of realistically-drawn stuff to point at, including characters who carry over from one page to the next. No text whatsoever, so it being in German is nbd. I liked her drawing style better than Ali Mitgutsch, mentioned above, but hers are also good.

Peter Pavey's One Dragon's Dream is another classic, and also includes counting!

Kids in my family loved those 'great paintings of the world' type of popular art history books that you can get cheap at secondhand stores. Endless pictures of animals, nursing women and other much-loved small child topics...
posted by ogorki at 12:23 PM on January 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Jan Brett's books have more in-depth illustrations and many of her books have a simple cutout on the page that gives a "hint" as to what is on the next page.
posted by Flacka at 12:26 PM on January 12, 2016

Playtown all the way (bonus: it's got 70+ flaps for lifting).
posted by anderjen at 12:34 PM on January 12, 2016

I always really loved Grover and the Everything in the Whole Wide World Museum as a kid, though probably older than a toddler. There are lots of things to point at, and Grover keeps finding things out of place, which struck me at the time as the height of comedy.
posted by joan cusack the second at 12:36 PM on January 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Priddy Baby Books have been big hits with both of my kids. Lots of fun pictures to look at.
posted by goggie at 12:46 PM on January 12, 2016

The I Spy books by Jean Marzollo and Walter Wick are nothing short of magical. The best ones are aimed at older kids, but there are toddler versions, as well. My kids (4 and 8) have both loved these books since they were about 2.
posted by xeney at 12:48 PM on January 12, 2016 [7 favorites]

Each Peach Pear Plum. It's also an "I Spy" book, but with characters from nursery rhymes. Lots of animals and other common items.
posted by zerbinetta at 12:50 PM on January 12, 2016 [6 favorites]

It's wordless, but big and jam-packed with things to look at and point out: In the Town All Year 'Round.
posted by ryanshepard at 12:55 PM on January 12, 2016

I really like Crabtree, a book about Alfred Crabtree who is looking for his false teeth among his many possessions. The suggested age range is "4 - 8 years" but littler kids might enjoy the pictures.
posted by hsieu at 1:11 PM on January 12, 2016

In Goodnight Gorilla there is a balloon floating away on every page.
posted by ReluctantViking at 1:26 PM on January 12, 2016

Ten Minutes Until Bedtime by the same author as Goodnight Gorilla. I've this book to my kids dozens of times and I'm still finding new details that I hadn't seen it. (If you also have Goodnight Gorilla, there's one page of Ten Minutes Until Bedtime that makes it clear that both books are set on the same street on the same night. Very fun.)
posted by alms at 1:29 PM on January 12, 2016

Good Night Gorilla and the other book by the same author. Similar to Goodnight moon in that there are things that appear in each picture.

Good Night Gorilla was my very favorite picture book to share with my son when he was a toddler. If I win the Powerball I'm gonna produce the film version.

(on preview, yeah, it's been mentioned, along with the other one. It's that good. Clooney should totally play the zoo keeper)
posted by bondcliff at 1:46 PM on January 12, 2016

I discovered with this age group that it's absolutely about the illustrators and the authors of the book aren't as important. Woolet's faves that fit your needs include:

- Haiku Baby (there is a moon! Also a little blue bird on each page) and Peanut Butter & Jellyfishes by Betsy Snyder
- Sidewalk Trip by Patricia Hubbell and Mari Takabayashi have busy street scenes with lots to see and point out.
- Feathers for Lunch by Lois Ehlert has a black and white cat AND birds AND to scale pictures of the birds at the back with interesting facts. We have most of these birds in our garden, so as Woolet got older, he can match them to real ones at the bird feeder.
- Peek-a-Boo! by Janet and Allen Ahlberg (someone else also mentioned Each Peach Pear Plum, also great)
posted by saturnine at 2:09 PM on January 12, 2016

There's a heart on every page of I Love You All the Time.
posted by amro at 2:11 PM on January 12, 2016

This is wordless and beautiful with several different plotlines to follow

My son also loved First Thousand Words

and of course, Richard Scarry!
posted by absences at 2:16 PM on January 12, 2016

Our 17 month old adores the Usborne First Thousand Words in English (sorry, can't link) - it's full of detail and humour. I really recommend it.
posted by prune at 2:19 PM on January 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Hot Dog Cold Dog and its companion What a Hoot! are big hits with my toddler daughter for naming things (coffee mugs, hats, bunnies, snails, boots, moons etc). Pictures are great and now we're adding the challenge of naming colors.

Her first love though was the already mentioned Haiku Baby: we must have looked for the little blue bird in every page nine thousand times over the past year. Endless fascination!
posted by lydhre at 2:22 PM on January 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

My 15mo old likes the Usborne peek inside books!
posted by jrobin276 at 3:37 PM on January 12, 2016

When my son was about that age, we got a stack of look-and-find books cheap at the dollar store. They're branded from various shows like Ni Hao, Kai Lan; Curious George; Sponge Bob (yes, we bought a Sponge Bob book for our toddler). He's 3.5 now and he still loves them all. I think it's the process of sitting with them and pointing out all the various things together that they enjoy the most.
posted by bluebelle at 4:54 PM on January 12, 2016

Other hits:
Rod Campbell's books, especially My Day
Any of the big branded Look and Find books like the Thomas the Train one
This Search and Find series
posted by bluebelle at 4:59 PM on January 12, 2016

My 2 year old son LOVES Where Does Rabbit Live?. Many animals to search for. We are also working on colors, numbers, and adjectives with it.
posted by emkelley at 5:00 PM on January 12, 2016

Nthing Richard Scarry. They are my toddler's favs, especially "cars and trucks and things that go" where you can look for goldbug on each page.

We mostly have vintage ones so I flip the genders so that daddy does the ironing etc.
posted by betsybetsy at 6:13 PM on January 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Maybe The Baby's Catalogue? No story, just lots to look at. Here's a blog post showing some of the pages.
posted by escapepod at 6:38 PM on January 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Where is the Cake follows a cake along its eventful passage after it is stolen, and The 46 Little Men follows the little men, 46 of them, including Sleepy and his two pests and the world's second unluckiest man, as they emerge from a picture, have an adventure, and return.
posted by Francolin at 7:25 PM on January 12, 2016

Right now we are loving the Big Barefoot Book of Wonderful Words. Every page is SO detailed and beautifully drawn. Bonus points for diversity - lots of POC, people using wheelchairs, the kitchen has a tagine, etc. - it looks much more like real life than most of these sorts of books, and prompts me to talk about a lot of tangential things that other books don't inspire me to do.

Seconding Richard Scarry's Cars & Trucks & Things that Go. My son literally screams in excitement whenever he finds Goldbug.
posted by gatorae at 7:29 PM on January 12, 2016

It sounds boring, but My Book of 1000 Words gave many, many hours of entertainment (including many crucial hours on long-haul plane flights) to my pointing-and-book-obsessed one-year-old. It was his favourite book for a long time.

As a plus, that one book made me realise that he could understand far, far more than he could say, and let me tailor my language to him appropriately in a way that would have been impossible without it.
posted by forza at 7:44 PM on January 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Thanks, y'all, this is a long list and he's sure to love some of them! Some of the related books that show up on Amazon seem promising, too.

(We have Hot Dog, Cold Dog and he enjoys finding the bunnies, but lately he's insisted on just looking at the page with the moon. I'll have to pass on any books with r-o-b-o-t-s because that word means the Roomba is coming out to play and he gets really upset when that doesn't happen. Toddlers are weird.)
posted by Metroid Baby at 3:20 AM on January 13, 2016 [2 favorites]

The Baby's Catalogue is full of collections of parents, kids, objects, foods, toys, activities. It's good for "What's that daddy doing? Can you point to the duck?" etc. It's also quite diverse which I like (e.g. it's not just mummies changing the nappies, and not just white people). Example pages.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:51 AM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

In general books by the Ahlbergs have great art, with lots of detail in the pictures. Peepo! is another good one.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:54 AM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

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