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10 Art and Activity Books 

Under 5

The Big Book of Shapes
Marie-Pascale Cocagne
Illustrated by Bridget Strevens-Marzo
Translated from French by Alice Thorp
Tate Publishing (2009)

The Big Book of Shapes is a superb activity book full of creative ideas for using a variety of different shapes; in particular, squares, circles and triangles. The engaging illustrations are accompanied by simple, straightforward instructions so that children can complete the pictures in their own way.  By the same team behind the hugely successful Big Book for Little Hands this is an ideal book for burgeoning artists who like drawing, cutting out, gluing and making lots of pictures.

Number Circus: 1-10 and back again!
Kvéta Pacovská
Translated from German
Minedition (2010)

Number Circus is an exciting creation by celebrated Czech artist Kvéta Pacovská inviting children to play with numbers in an adventurous way.  There are square and round flaps to life, doors to open and a mirror to peek in whilst working through the numbers one to ten.  A brilliant concept book with a surprise on every page that will take a child on a journey through the numbers and keep them amused for hours.

Ten Little Penguins
Jean-Luc Frometal
Illustrated by Joëlle Jolivet
Translated from French by Amanda Katz Abrams  (2011)

Bestselling author-illustrator duo Jean-Luc Frometal and Joëlle Jolivet have created 10 Little Penguins from their well-known 365 Penguins. Featuring an original booklet by the authors, it consists of ten counting games and ideas for play as well as 44 magnets making this is a perfect activity book and toy combination for all those penguin lovers.


Translated from Polish by Eliza Marciniak
Tate Publishing (2016)

Alphadoodler by Polish illustrator and graphic designer Bajtlik received a special mention for the Bologna Ragazzi Award (non-fiction) in 2015, and you can see why.  With stylish typography and striking graphics this is an engaging activity book that brings the letters of the alphabet to life. Bajtlik’s innovative creation has some fabulous art ideas as well as a novel and fun way to learn the alphabet.


The Colouring Book
Hervé Tullet
Translated from French
Tate Publishing

Hervé Tullet has created an activity book that makes colouring fun.  Every page is a new adventure that will inspire children to get their pencils out and start colouring.  Clear, simple instructions will guide children through the colours. There are plenty of different shapes to be coloured in as well as shape and word puzzles. This is an ideal first colouring book that will help children explore colours, shapes and much more.

Findus, Food and Fun
Eva-Lena Larsson & Kennert Danielsson
Illustrated by Sven Nordqvist
Translated from Swedish by Nathan Large
Hawthorn Press (2014)

Join Findus, Farmer Pettson and their helpful friends the muckles created by Swedish author/illustrator Sven Nordqvist, as they explore this craft and nature activity book through the seasons. This month-by-month anthology is compiled full of fun things for children to make and do. It covers both indoor and outdoor activities including nature activities, foraging and food growing, recycling, gardening and crafts.


The Five Senses
Hervé Tullet
Translated from French
Tate Publishing (2007)

This is a book that will tickle all the senses as it explores through pictures the five senses – See, Hear, Smell, Touch, Taste. Hervé Tullet’s clear concepts accompanied by brash, colourful images make this an ideal book to learn about the different senses through illustration. 


MAPS Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski Translated from Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones
Big Picture Press (2013)

Explore the world with this beautifully crafted, sumptuously illustrated book of 52 detailed maps. Here you will find not only geographical features such as the capital city, flag, population, size and language, but also interesting facts about each country’s native animals and plants, places of interest, iconic personalities and specific characteristics that reflect their identity. MAPS is a celebration of the World from two of the most innovative Polish illustrators – Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski. Children can travel the globe immersed in these pages.


New York in Pyjamarama
Michaël Leblond and Frédérique Bertrand
Translated from French
Phoenix Yard Books (2012)

Who could ever believe that wearing striped pyjamas could cause so much adventure; but these are no ordinary pyjamas … or stripes!  This is Pyjamarama animation and New York as you’ve never seen it before with images of the city coming alive as if by magic. It’s an animated picture book with a difference; French artists Michaël Leblond and Frédérique Bertrand have created an exciting, mesmerising interactive book that children (and adults) will not be able to put down.


What's Hidden in the Woods?
Aina Bestard
Translated from Spanish
Thames & Hudson (2015)

What is hidden in the woods? A first glance shows that it is all still, but have a look more closely through the three coloured cello magnifying glasses – green, blue and red – and the wonders of nature emerge before your eyes. Using exquisitely detailed patterns throughout the book, Spanish author and illustrator Aina Bestard has created a visual feast. This is a uniquely clever book that is bound to keep children absorbed for many hours.  As well as being fun it is also a thought-provoking book with an environmental theme.


Ten Activity and Art Books Aug/17



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