Monday, June 22, 2015

9 Picture Books for the Reluctant Young Reader

For a bookworm parent, nothing is more disheartening than a child who doesn't care about reading. My son Forrest was disinterested in books for quite a while--he struggled to sit still long enough to make it through a picture book together, and he often acted bored even when he did sit and listen.

But I think I finally hit the magic formula that made reading exciting for him: books that have the perfect blend of silly story, enticing illustrations, and interaction with the reader to keep his interest. I'm so happy to say that Forrest loves reading now (and I only hope I can keep it that way!).

Here are 9 of our favorite picture books that are fun for both reader and listener alike, and might just help coax a reluctant reader to give books another shot.

9 Awesome Picture Books for Reluctant Readers

The Book With No Pictures (B.J. Novak) A pictureless picture book? Really? When it's as funny and clever as this one, definitely yes. Even though this book has no pictures, it's just as fun as traditional picture books because the reader is forced to say all sorts of silly and hilarious things. It's a frequent request at our house.

Mustache Baby (Bridget Heos) This hilarious little story is about a baby born with a mustache that transforms depending on his mood--sometimes it's a wild west cowboy mustache, sometimes a police officer 'stache, and when he's feeling particularly naughty, it becomes the dreaded Bad Guy Mustache. The illustrations are to-die-for cute, and the story will have you both laughing. And if you like it (I bet you will), get your hands on the sequel, Mustache Baby Meets His Match.

Press Here (Herve Tullet) I think any book that directly involves the reader in the story development is a great choice for a child who struggles with books. This minimalistic book involves the child in 'creating' the illustrations with their fingers, and is a great way to get your little reader's attention.

Bark, George (Jules Feiffer) This funny story follows a puppy named George who simply can't get his bark to come out right. He meows, he moos, he oinks, but he just can't bark . . . and kids will love meowing and mooing and oinking along with him.

Scaredy Squirrel (Melanie Watt) I always love a book that helps empower children to conquer their fears . . . and even more so when it can accomplish this in an adorable and funny story. Poor Scaredy Squirrel is terrified of the world outside his tree, and the unique formatting of this story will catch the attention of children who get bored easily while reading. And if it turns out to be a hit with your little one, there's an entire Scaredy Squirrel series to dive into.

Don't Push the Button! (Bill Cotter) My personal favorite of the reader-interactive books, this one features a silly monster named Larry who starts off with admonitions to not even think about pushing the button . . . but later decides it might be pretty fun. Kids love pushing the button along with Larry, and helping him by shaking the book and tickling his tummy. It's silly and colorful and interactive, all in one.

No, David! (David Shannon) This clever, simple story about naughty David is lots of fun for kids, and is especially hilarious if you replace 'David' with your own child's name (always gets big laughs around here). The illustrations are unique and fun, and the story is silly and naughty, but ends surprisingly sweetly.

Tap The Magic Tree (Christie Matheson) Another sweet and simple story that gets the child involved by tapping the pictures to help the tree blossom, bloom, and produce fruit. Kids love being involved in developing the story, plus it opens the door to discussions about nature and seasons.

Moo! (David LaRochelle) You'll both be laughing over this adorable, funny story about a cow who gets his hooves on a car and takes it for a joyride--and since it only has one word throughout (you'll never guess what it is . . . ), your little one will love 'reading' the story back to you.

What would you add to this list for reluctant readers?

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