10 interactive board books perfect for toddlers


As a self-confessed book worm, I’ve loved reading to my children since each of them were newborns. It’s such a lovely bonding experience and has been a big part of our evening routine since Little Miss E, my eldest, was born six years ago.

However, when they reach the toddler stage, books need to be robust, so that they can survive being chewed and thrown across the room; and engaging, so that they hold their attention for a while. Board books are perfect for this, especially the interactive kind, which make reading a sensory experience, as well as a language development one.

Flaps to lift, different textures to feel, holes to put fingers through…. all three of my children have been fascinated by such books during their older baby and toddler days. Here are some we’ve loved and recommend.

Are any of your favourites on this list? Are there any you would add? Do let me know in the comments section below, on the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page or you can tweet me on @cardiffmummy

You can see all of my posts on children’s books in the Books section of Cardiff Mummy Says.


1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (Puffin Books)

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

This is an absolute classic. First published in 1969, it has sold over 30 million copies worldwide. Both Cardiff Daddy and I remember this one from our own childhoods, so it’s lovely to revisit it with out own children. It’s been a favourite for all three of them. We have it in paperback and board book form, but the chunky board book is definitely better for toddlers, who will love poking their fingers through the holes in the food the caterpillar has munched his way through. It’s also a good one to introduce the days of the week, numbers, letters, different types of food and the idea that caterpillars turn into butterflies.


2. Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell (Macmillan)

Dear Zoo

This is such a favourite in our house. A child writes to the zoo to ask for a pet. The zoo sends animal after animal but none of them are suitable for one reason or another – too big, too tall, too grumpy, too scary and so the child sends them back, until finally the perfect pet arrives. Toddlers will love opening the flaps to reveal the animals and the repetitive text means it won’t be long before they’ll be reciting the story along with you. If you like this, also look out for Dear Santa, which is a similar-style Christmas-themed book.


3. Peepo by Janet and Allan Ahlberg (Penguin Books)


This book is beautiful and has been a best-seller since it was first published in 1981. With repetitive and simple text, it shows a day in the life of a baby. Each verse ends with the word Peepo!, as we look through a peep hole in the page through to the next part of the day. The images add a real depth to this book, detailing life in the second world war, with the baby’s daddy a uniformed soldier. We also recommend Each Peach Pear Plum by the same authors. This introduces popular nursery rhyme and fairy tale characters through simple rhyme and beautifully-detailed pictures.


4. Postman Bear by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

Postman Bear

The mighty duo famous for The Gruffalo, Stick Man, Room on the Broom and countless other favourites, turn their attention to the youngest of readers with their Tales From Acorn Wood series. This lovely tale is about a bear who sets out to post three letters to his friends, to invite them to his birthday party. With flaps to open and bouncy rhyming verse, this is one of my toddler’s favourites at the moment.


5. Where’s Spot? By Eric Hill (Warne)

Where's Spot

Another classic character, the Spot books have been bestsellers since the 1980s. We have a few in the series, mostly picked up from charity shops and car boot sales. This books is the first in the series and shows Sally, the mummy dog, looking for Spot because it’s dinner time. She looks behind the door, inside the grandfather clock, in the piano and countless other places, with children able to open the flaps to reveal a whole host of Spot’s animal friends, until finally the mischievous Spot is located.


6. That’s Not My Hedgehog… by Fiona Watt and Rachel Wells (Usborne)

That's Not My Hedgehog

Possibly one of the most famous pre-reader series, there are countless different variations – pandas, penguins, lions, monkeys, trains, tractors, robots, fairies, princesses, kittens and so many more. I’ve put Hedgehog here just because it’s one the latest releases, but whatever your little ones loves, there’s bound to be a book to fit. These books all follow the same structure: “That’s not my xxxx. Its xxxx is too xxx”, with little ones able to touch said area for sensory experience. The simple repetitive text is accompanied by bright and colourful images. My little ones have all loved these books.


7. Whose Ears? by Jo Garden (Ladybird)

Whose Ears

A great way to introduce different animals and their body parts, each page gives a clue about an animal, with little ones then able to open the large page-size flaps to reveal the ear’s owner. Also in the same series are Whose Spots?, Whose Stripes? Whose Nose? Whose Bottom? and Whose Feet. We have the bilingual Welsh and English version of this, Clustiau Pwy?


8. Oh Dear! by Rod Campbell (Macmillan)

Oh Dear

The second book on my list by Rod Campbell, this follows Buster, a little boy visiting his grandmother’s farm as he’s sent to collect the eggs. He can’t remember where they are though, and we visit a number of barns, stables and so on along the way. My three have all loved the repetitive text and refrain of “No eggs here, oh dear!”, as young readers are introduced to different animals by lifting the flaps in this simple but engaging tale.


9. Where Is Baby’s Belly Button? By Karen Katz (Lift-The-Flap-Books)

Where is Baby's Belly Button

A perfect way to learn body parts, here little ones can lift the flaps to reveal baby’s belly button, eyes, mouth, feet and so on. Easy, repetitive text combines with adorable baby illustrations for a fun and lively book that is educational too. If you like this one, the author, Karen Katz, has a whole series of similar lift-the-flap books and board books.


 10. Princess Polly’s Potty / Pirate Pete’s Potty by Andrea Pinnington (Ladybird)

Princess Polly's PottyPirate Pete's Potty

These books are a great way to introduce the idea of potty training in older toddlers. We follow Polly or Pete as the learn what potties are for and the rules of toilet hygiene. It’s fun and engaging, with the chance to choose your favourite big boy/girl pants and potty particularly popular in our house. At the end of each page, the child is encouraged to press the button and hear the book cheer. The only criticism I have is the blatant gender stereotypes of princesses for girls and pirates for boys – but my eldest two children loved these books and they definitely helped with the potty training journey.


Are any of your favourites on this list? Are there any you would add? Do let me know in the comments section below, on the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page or you can tweet me on @cardiffmummy

You can see all of my posts on children’s books in the Books section of Cardiff Mummy Says.

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7 Comments to 10 interactive board books perfect for toddlers

  1. Kerry norris

    We love lift the flap books. Dear zoo is a personal favourite of ours. This is a fab list with a few we haven’t read yet x

  2. recoverymummy-cardiff

    Flap books are the best! My sons favourite (and mine!) flap books are definitely Spot the dog lol…we love any Spot books x

  3. I feel so bad that there are a few on here I’ve never heard of! The Hungry Caterpillar is always a favourite. I don’t think it comes as a board book, but I’m looking forward to buying The Jolly Postman for Santi when he’s a bit older x

  4. Bear just loves board books. He loves the lift the flap books and like to poke his fingers through the holes in the Hungry Caterpillar. He loves the repetition and has most of these now but there are a few we haven’t tried. I love your lists of books but it does end up costing me a fortune! Lol

  5. ‘Robust’ books are exactly what I need for G! I have a paperback version of ‘peeps’ that was mine when I was little! It’s survived well considering it’s over 20 years old! But I’m scared to let G anywhere near it. I think he’d like ‘where’s baby’s belly button’ best seeing as he keeps flashing his haha xx

  6. Becky, Cuddle Fairy

    What a great list, each book sounds fantastic. We have Spot & the hungry caterpillar. I haven’t heard of the rest. I’m going to look for the postman book as my son loves postman things! It’s nice to know which books will be good & educational too. x

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