Concept books are simply books that explore one type of idea. It might explore, letters, numbers, shapes, colors, animals or sounds. Sometimes you will find books that are little more than lists, with no plot whatsoever. What makes these books unique is that while they often don’t have to follow the traditional plot of beginning, middle and end, many still do. In fact, the best concept books introduce these ideas within the context of a story. This list is dedicated to concept books that have great plots!
When the little lowercase letters decide to see how many can climb to the top of a coconut tree, mayhem results. It’s up to the “adult” uppercase letters to help them up and get things straightened around again? This book explore not only the concept of letters, but also upper and lowercase letters.
Another letter book, this one explores the adventures of an audacious letter “I” as he jumps off the page and explores the world. The book explores letters and words, but it also explores the homophonic concepts of “I” and “You.” The story adds a third dimension as it encourages the reader to step off the page and try new things, even if it’s a little scary.
Explore colors with your child in this silly book about the day that crayons leave their box. Duncan, their child, discovers that the colors are unhappy with their lot and have all abandoned him. So, he has to find a new way to entice each color back into their box and into his life before he is left colorless. This book not only explores color concepts, but also the feeling every child, every human, has of feeling both needed and appreciated.
When an invisible “Opposite” appears in Nate’s bedroom one morning, Nate has a rough day. Everything Nate tried to do, the Opposite happens! Explore what happens with opposites such as down and up, clean and messy, happy and unhappy as Nate tries to reveal the opposite that is terrorizing his day. As Nate takes control, he is able to redeem his day, with the “help” of the opposite.
When a little caterpillar hatches, he discovers he is very hungry. Every day he eats a little more until he overeats at a carnival. The surprise at the end is a magical transformation for any toddler. The holes the caterpillar eats are drilled from page to page and are the perfect size for a toddler’s finger. The book explores number progression and days of the week.
Look at the ideas of where things belong with this clever, rhyming book. In this book, children explore everything from farms to homes to nests. Pockets become places where things, both physical and intangible fit. The book starts out with silly and fun “pockets” and move into deeper and more emotional items and ends with love as belonging in each heart. A moving end to a fun book.
Innovative and interactive book introduces children to a wide range of concepts from color and number, to opposites, such as left and right, light and dark and cause and effect. This book asks the reader to do specific actions, such as press on the yellow dot or clap hands throughout the book. Each page turn then shows the child the result of those actions. For example, one page asks the reader to shake the book. Then when the page is turned, all of the brightly colored circles are scattered to the edge of the page and the reader is “chided” for shaking the book too hard.
In this book, children meet animals of all shapes, sizes and colors, but they all have one thing in common. So not only are children exploring the concepts of color, shape and size, but they are also looking at the idea of same and different. Whimsical pictures help you and your child explore the world of shape, color and animals with this innovative concept book.
Charlie and Lola fans will recognize this pair immediately. In this book, Charlie and Lola go to the shops with their mother, where each will get to choose “absolutely one thing.” Charlie uses his math skills to explain to his little sister what one thing means as she tries to wheedle several other items from their mother. In the process, Charlie and Lola explore number and use counting, addition and subtraction skills.
This is a concept book that almost stands apart from all the other. It actually brings the concept of language itself into the reader’s consideration. The story revolves around a group of insects as they tend a small plant. They talk to each other in a bug-based language that no child, or adult for that matter, can understand. Instead, the child must try to understand what the bugs are saying by the actions they perform on the page. In addition to language, the book also opens up the natural world to young readers as the bugs tend the plants leave, roots and blossom as well as the butterfly’s chrysalis that is secretly hung on a leaf.
This book explores the world of numbers from a baby’s point of view. The story is simple. It follows a baby as he goes to market on his mother’s back. As they stop at each of the stalls, he charms each merchant and gets a successively larger number of treats. He eats one and places the rest in his mother’s basket on top of her head. By the end of the book, the mother is worried. She doesn’t know how her basket got so heavy and she worries because the baby has had nothing to eat all day. The book helps children not only explore numbers, but also simple subtraction concepts as the baby always takes one away from the treats he is given.