Children's Shape Books and Books with Holes
What's on the other side of the hole in the page?
Spend time with your family reading a whole genre of children's picture "Books With Holes". The holes or windows are there to let you peek through the pages to see part of the next image in the story. But you never know what to expect when you turn the page.
"Shape Books" have die-cut pages with the edges trimmed off to make the shape of a house, for example.
All these books are ideal for young children to learn basic language skills while parents or sitters read the book aloud. See a personal review of my favorite die-cut books, beginning with the classic Moomin Books by Tove Jannson.
What Happens Next?
Hur gick det sen?
Literally translated as What Happens Next? the original Swedish title of of the classic children's story gives a hint about the magic of books with holes. The cover and each die-cut page inside reveals just part of the image on the following page through a hole -- a teaser for what happens next in the story. The Book About Moomin, Mymble and Little My
Moomin Books - New and vintage books in the series
Moomin, Mymble and Little My made a big impression on me because of the bright colors and the completely unique characters -- and the holes. Moomin (and her parents Moominpappa and Moominmamma) looks very much like a hippopotamus. Kids will enjoy the detailed illustrations and turn the pages with a feeling of wonder and discovery to find out what's on the other side of the hole in the page.
Beautiful illustrations from the book are full of bright colors and awe-inspiring landscapes. Appropriate for kids in kindergarten to 5 years and older. Quality bookbinding, designed in the tradition of children's "Pop-up Books" and "Movable Books".
Tove Jansson picture books
The Dangerous Journey and Who Will Comfort Toffle? are the other two picture books for kids by Tove Jansson. There are dozens of other Moomin Books in the series that have longer stories, and vocabulary matched to the reading skills of older kids. See the Moomin comic book series, below.
Shape Books - Die-cut edges of each page
The tops of each page in the book are cut, or shaped, to see part of the next page beyond. The cover of this vintage Hansel and Gretel book (that I got as a hand-me-down from my brothers) is cut on the top of the house along the edge of the roof.
"Board Books" for children are made of sturdy paperboard or plastic so the book stays in good condition on road trips, or even in the bathtub.
My parents gave the books to me long ago, and I haven't thought about them in years. It was no surprise to learn recently that the Moomin Books have a huge international following, and a theme park in Finland called Moomin World (Muumimaailma). So naturally there are toy figures of all the characters in the series. Another toy that I want to collect now!
Arabia is the name of the company officially licensed to create the most delightful toys, kitchen wares and collectables from Moomin Valley.
Laura Seeger specializes in clever children's books that make good use of the die cut holes or windows to carry the "riddle" of the story. "Look inside" the books at Amazon for a glimpse of the rich colors and creative design.
Get an introduction to colors for children from Lemons Are Not Red. Award-winning book by the author with more colors and fruit pairings. Turn the page to see the lemon turn from red to yellow through the window.
First the Egg shows a progression of animals in the die-cut pages that grow from caterpillars to butterflies, or eggs to chickens (and back again).
It starts with a chicken and ends with a chicken, or is it the egg?
Classic Books With Holes
Modern series of "Books With Holes" made with high quality die-cut pages and heavy paper to withstand abuse for generations.
Moomin comic strip series
Jannson also illustrated a cartoon series that was carried in the United Kingdom and Europe. The complete series has been reprinted recently and introduced to the United States for the first time.
Activities for kids with the Moomins
- Muumimaailma | Moomin World
Visit Moomin World in Finland for theme park attractions, and kids can play online games and activities.
- Official Moomin Channel - YouTube
Meet the iconic Moomins! Tove Jansson herself took part in the creation of this exquisitely-made stop motion animation.
- Oy Moomin Characters Ltd
Official website of Moomin and family
- Muumilaakso - Tampereen taidemuseo
Moominvalley Tampere Art Museum is Tove Jansson's original Moomin works collection of some 2,000 works
The Rocket Book by Peter Newell is another classic picture book for children. The janitor's son has set off a rocket in the basement of an apartment building. Visit each apartment to see what happened when the rocket came through.
Look through the hole to see beyond to the next page.
Did you read these Moomin books or classic Books with Holes? I hope you and your kids will get as much delight as these books have given me and millions of children, in dozens of languages around the world.