Do you know Britta Teckentrup’s books? If you’re in the United States, you may not… I didn’t know her till recently, and let me tell you– I LOVE her books! While I could write about many of her books (we also love her “Peek-Through Picture Book” series and Under the Same Sky, and I’m dying to get my hands on We Are Together), I’m going to focus this post on her “A Spotting Book” series, because interactive books can be so much fun for children!
As of writing this post, Teckentrup has written 4 books in the “A Spotting Book” series, and we’ve collected all 4 of them for our home library over the last 6 months or so, starting when I found one (The Odd One Out) at our local library sale and fell in love with it! Once her name was on my radar, I grabbed Where’s the Pair? at a local used bookstore, and our wonderful local children’s bookstore was able to order the other 2 for me.
So, why have I gone to such lengths to get these books? Teckentrup’s text is written in good rhyme, so they’re fun to read aloud. When you combine that with the visual challenges presented, these make perfect books to work through while snuggled closely with your child. And, the digitally-created illustrations are really pleasing to look at. The animals and objects are often laid out in an organized way, and this spread combined with the design and color scheme of items makes it almost soothing to take in. Finally, search-and-find books such as these are such great tools for building perseverance and developing critical thinking and organized thinking skills… Skills we probably all hope our children have!
Now, for the books themselves, coming to you in order of publication date. All of her books target approximately ages 2-5, an age range which has worked well in our house, but I think they could be used older, too, especially the more difficult ones (noted below).
The Odd One Out: A Spotting Book— This one is probably the easiest for my girls, so I’d say this age range is spot-on. Teckentrup features groups of animals all doing the same thing, with the exception of one member of the group, and readers are challenged to find the oddball. I especially like how this book introduces some scientific language about groups of animals (a pod of seals, a shoal of fish, a stand of flamingos, etc).
Where’s the Pair? A Spotting Book— And this one has been the hardest in our family! Many pages, such as the lizard page pictured above, have come easily to our eyes, but finding the pairs on some of her other pages is still quite challenging, even after many re-reads! She gives clues on some pages (for example, the fish that match are swimming the opposite way from all other fish, and the matching squirrels are the only two who haven’t yet found acorns to eat), but we’re still looking for the matching dogs and beetles! I’d break this one into chunks of a few pages at a time, especially if you’re as challenged as we are…
One is Not a Pair: A Spotting Book— This is the newest addition to our Teckentrup collection, and I think it’s my favorite. All of the animals or items in this book are laid out in a very organized way, so these search-and-finds in this book provide excellent opportunities to teach young children thinking and searching strategies, rather than attempting to scan a page in a really haphazard manner.
Where’s the Baby? A Spotting Book— And if the book above is my favorite, this one is my girls’ favorite! Of course, they love anything to do with baby animals, so they’re a perfect audience for this book. Because you’re looking specifically for a baby on each page, these puzzles are also easier for them to solve on their own, which makes them even happier than baby animals. Once again, I love the scientific terminology Teckentrup uses here for these animal babies– chick, gosling, calf, joey, and so on.
If you liked these, check out:
Where’s Walrus? by Steven Savage (perfect for the youngest search-and-finders!)
Find Me: A Hide and Seek Book by Anders Arhoj
Animalia by Graeme Base
I know there are tons out there that I haven’t read before! So tell me, what are your favorite search-and-find books for your toddler/preschool/kindergarten-aged kiddo?