I was surprised that I couldn’t find, in a quick search, any popular research about why lift-the-flap books are so fascinating to the youngest readers. Clearly, they represent a popular and well-loved genre.
And clearly, toddlers love the participatory aspect of flaps, and the element of controlled surprise. It’s similar to a game of “peek-a-boo” in that toddlers get to experience how things continue to exist even if they’re not immediately apparent. (Mommy’s face goes behind her hands…and then comes out again!)
Currently, the favorite lift-the-flap in our house is أيْنَ أنامُ الآن؟, written by رانيا زبيب ضاهر and charmingly illustrated by دنيال قطّار. It’s published by the UAE’s Kalimat, which means it should be widely available at good bookstores around the region.
The little narrator clearly doesn’t want to sleep in her bed, because…there’s a purple crocodile in there! And كبير هذا التمساح! So the little girl goes and curls up with her father on the couch.
She tries again, but now there’s a red elephant in her bed! (This time, she finds her mother.) The illustrations are warm and wonderful, and my two-and-a-half-year-old loves anticipating which animal is “hiding” in the bed. When you’re two and a half, it’s great to have mastery of some small part of your world!
We like this book because it’s solidly constructed, has effective use of repetition (my two-and-a-half-year-old is starting to fill in some of the words) and has lovely, bright, warm illustrations.
Make Your Own
If you want to make your own lift-the-flap book, with perhaps very simple words (or none at all), “Instructables” has step-by-step instructions.
And, for a slightly simpler book, you can check out the instructions on the website “Bright Hub.”
Just be sure the flaps are strong enough to withstand a little tugging.