Best Search and Find Books for Kids
Are Search and Find books the precursor to video/DSi/Wii/Xbox/Nintendo games for little boys? Maybe … but I’ll take that any day over the screens! I have to say that I have never logged in so many hours searching for stuff in books until I had my third child and my only son. Coincidence? I think not. There is a gaming feature that never seems to bore my son from searching and finding stuff in books. This, however, does not seem to translate into searching and finding [lost] stuff in his room or in the house.
I am also going to go out on a literacy limb and claim that I think that searching and finding things (i.e. recognition of shapes) is related to literacy and that recognizing shapes is not too different from recognizing letters and words. I don’t have research to back up my intuition so take this with a huge grain of salt.
That being said, it is fun to search for stuff together. This is another way to get reluctant readers to read. You have to read to figure out what you are searching for, after all!
This is my son’s current obsession. I like it because Staake has cleverly extended the searches in the picture book by adding on challenges at the end which require the reader to scour the entire book for each item on the list. Even though we have read this book dozens of times already, the search-the-entire-book challenges keep the book fresh and fun. AND we never seem to remember where all the items are, whereas the items to find on each individual page become easy after the second reading. This book also has nice rhyming text and I really like Staake’s illustration style. All in all, this book is a winner!
2. Treasure Ship (Can You See What I See) by Walter Wick
The premise of this picture book is clever. Each page is an image within a larger image such that the book zooms out from the start to finish. And the photography/photoshop is amazing. AND it’s truly difficult to find everything listed on the page. Sometimes the entire family has to get involved to find the last item! The text of this book also rhymes. All 3 of my kids like to read this book so it’s an easy bedtime story with all of us scouring the pages for items that are really hard to find so it’s a really satisfying feeling to complete a page!
I am becoming such a Pokémon expert by reading these types of picture books because we have 6 of these. I find the inside cover pages to be helpful because they list all the Pokémon in the book, and I need that because there are more than 500 of those little buggers. When you read this book repeatedly, the pokémon on the page that you are supposed to find becomes too easy to spot so you will need to know the names of the Pokémon in order to find those instead. My son and I take turns asking the other to locate an obscure Pokémon.
This book is dogeared from the hours upon hours we spent searching for dinosaurs and reading the factoids on each page. It’s a wonderful way to visualize the dinosaurs in their natural habitat. I really like this one and I shock myself when I say this because I seriously logged hundreds of hours reading this book with my son when he was 3 and 4 and even 5. This picture book is perfect for budding paleontologists!
My oldest daughter liked this seek and find picture book when she was little. I’m not sure what happened to it, but I liked looking at the artwork very carefully to notice the minute details that I otherwise wouldn’t see. My eldest is the artist in the family so this would appeal to kids who actually like visiting a museum of fine arts.
And Two More …
Have You Seen My Lunch Box? by Steve Light
Search for the lunch box and other items in this charming board book. [board book, ages 2 and up]
One is Not a Pair: A Spotting Book by Britta Teckentrup
It’s not easy to find the matching pair but that’s the fun of this picture book. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.