Toddler Touch – what busy toddlers need from books

Whether you are reading with your toddler or they are 'reading' books by themselves, you might find that they are starting to outgrow some of their baby books, needing something with a bit more detail.  So, we have asked Ladybird editor Nicola Bird, who has worked on Ladybird's Toddler Touch books, to give us some more detail about what toddlers need from books and how Toddler Touch caters specificially for this age and stage.

How do Toddler Touch books differ from Baby Touch books?
These books have a little bit more going on in them, in ways that benefit a busy toddler who by 15 months or so will have greater dexterity, coordination and awareness of items on a page. As well as bright images and touch–and-feels – all things that you find in a Baby Touch book – the books have flaps to lift, finger trails to follow and more in-depth, thematic content with lots to discuss together.

Toddler Touch_fluffychick
Ladybird Toddler Touch: Fluffy Chick

At what age (or stage) should parents progress from Baby Touch books to Toddler Touch books? Could you suggest a few things to look out for that would identify when a baby is ready to move onto Toddler Touch?
Each child develops at different rates, but the Toddler Touch books are particularly good for helping your child expand their vocabulary and develop better hand-eye coordination. If you child is learning to talk, then the familiar, everyday objects in the Toddler Touch books will help them to begin to link the pictures and the things they see everyday around them to words. Similarly, if your baby goes straight for the touch-and-feels in the Baby Touch books and can turn the pages with ease, then they’re ready for the more challenging finger trails, flaps and ‘peepo’ holes in Toddler Touch.

Toddler Touch_fluffychick_spread
Inside Ladybird Toddler Touch:Fluffy Chick

What tips would you have for helping  little ones get the most out of books at this age/stage? Any tips for parents?

As your baby grows into a more independent toddler, they are likely to want to ‘read’ books all themselves, from turning the pages to making up their own stories. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this, so encourage them to spend as much time as they want interacting with a book by discussing what you see on the page and asking questions of what they can see – ‘What’s under the flap?’ ‘Can you follow the wiggly line with your finger to the end?’ ‘What’s that little girl doing?

Toddlertouch_firstnumbersLadybird Toddler Touch: First Numbers

The Toddler Touch books contain ‘finger trails’ – can you explain what this means?  
These are wiggly lines that go across a double page to help children develop good hand-eye coordination, a valuable pre-writing skill. Can your child trace this line with their finger all the way to the end? As you follow the trails, there are things to look out for or text to read along the way!

Toddler Touch_fingertrail_example       An example of a 'finger trail', taken from  Ladybird Toddler Touch: First Words

First Words/First Numbers. If a  toddler has a very limited vocabulary – or isn’t yet speaking – is it still beneficial to buy these books, or wait a while?
Sharing books like these with your child is a great introduction to first concepts and key vocabulary, and don’t forget that just because your child isn’t yet speaking, they are still soaking up everything they hear! The more you chat about what you see on the page or practise counting, the more your child will become familiar with the idea of different numbers of things, or that, for example, a particular word means ‘dog’ .

Toddler Touch_first words
Ladybird Toddler Touch: First Words

How do you choose subjects for the books?
We wanted the subjects to remain true to the sorts of things that older babies and toddlers are doing everyday, so that the subjects are relatable for both parent and child. We do lots of research online and with consultants, and also talk to lots of parents!

Toddler Touch_bedtime
Ladybird Toddler Touch: Bedtime

The Toddler Touch app – Can you explain a bit more about this – how it works and how it differs from the books? Would a toddler be able to navigate it themselves or would you advise a parent being on hand to go through with them?
The First Words:Toddler Touch and Say app is about vocabulary acquisition, or put more plainly, helping toddlers learn new words! It has very simple functionality so that children can use it themselves one they’ve had a practice.

There are 48 words to learn and practise, in four themed sections. Touch the pictures each time to hear a sound effect, and then touch the word to hear it spoken out loud! It’s easy to swipe from one image to another within the sections. However, we would always recommend that a parent use the app with their child as a shared, interactive experience is often more beneficial than a passive one.


Some examples from First Words: Toddler Touch and say app

Lastly, are any more Toddler Touch books or apps in the pipeline?
We have two more touch-and-feel books coming up in 2014. Both of these will have sturdy tabbed edges and be about the things that a busy toddler tends to do or the places they go in their day-to-day life.


Win Win Win!! We are giving away a copy of  Ladybird Toddler Touch:Fluffy Chick and Ladybird Toddler Touch: Spotty Puppy to THREE lucky blog readers! Just leave a comment below, telling us what your toddler likes most about books (it could be lifting the flaps, listening to a story or even snuggling down alone for some silent contemplation!) and we will pick three winners at random.

Leave your comment by midnight, April  29th 2013. Good luck!

Update – 2 May 2013 – the prize draw is now closed and the winners been selected and notified by email. 


Want to read more? If you would like more tips on reading with your child, plus book suggestions, videos and mums' stories visit the Age and Stage pages at


85 thoughts on “Toddler Touch – what busy toddlers need from books

  1. nicky simms says:

    Our daughter is 5 and has started reading at school she is doing very well and these would be great for her to read.

  2. Sinead Murray says:

    My 2 year old DD loves sitting on my knee in the book room (as we call our playroom cos there are so many books) and being read to and looking at the pictures. She also loves playing “library” with her 6-year old sister. They take books from the book room and read them on her sisters bed – then go back in and get some more. We love books – they are our friends.

  3. Yvette says:

    My daughter just loves story, the pictures, where she’s always asking “what’s that” and turning the pages herself. She’s 2 and even tries reading to me by looking at the books and saying random things. It’s very cute and funny, to say the least.

  4. Mrs P Thompson says:

    Hi,my daughter just loves the excitement of the stories I read to her and loves touchy feely books anything fluffy is her favourite.She is 3 yrs old and is very much into princesses as any little girl would be as she is her mummies little princess.

  5. Debbie says:

    My little girl loves to describe pictures and do the sound effects. Even though she is three, she helps me read to her baby sister and does lifts up the flaps and turns the pages for her.

  6. sarah mcavoy says:

    hi my little boy loves lift the flap books and books he is familiar with some of his books we have read dozens of times and he doesnt get bored. I hope he will continue to read for pleasure

  7. Nichola says:

    My son who is 18 months adores books. He just loves to sit and turn the pages, he loves it when mummy reads to him too 🙂

  8. susie groom says:

    My 18 month old loves to push dogs that bark, put her finger through little holes in books & look at herself in a mirror when they have one. The 3 year old likes the ones about kids who make puddles on the floor by mistake! Also counting books & farm animals.

  9. Samantha Atherton says:

    My little girl is 21 months and she adores her books, she always have since she was tiny. She likes making up her own stories from the pictures and spotting things on the pages.

  10. Christina Palmer says:

    My Grandson Christian has mild Autism and most things do not hold his attention for very long. These books however keep him calm and he loves to look at the pictures as I read to him. Its the only time I manage to get to snuggle up with him.

  11. Christina Cooke says:

    My two year old loves being read to by his five year old sister – kills two birds with one stone as keeps him quiet (relatively…) and gives Hollie reading practice!

  12. Hayley Todd says:

    My little girl loves everything about books! She loves the bright pictures, she loves texture books, noisy books, lift-the-flap books and looks snuggling up on the sofa for story-time x

  13. Jayne H says:

    my little one loves me to read the books to him and then he looks at the pictures again on his own and tries to read it himself. Their memories are amazing at this age!

  14. Matt Richardson says:

    My 2 year old son loves to find things he recognises, helping his speech and association develop, and has a stacks of books all over the house

  15. Sharon collis says:

    My 2 yo loves all books especially ones with different textures, flaps things that make it so she can join in, my 7 yo now loves books about his favourite characters I’m very lucky to have 2 little book worms makes me very proud

  16. Helen Hickman says:

    My son loves sitting on his own looking at his older sister’s books and looking at his own books with me. He loves to point and try to name things, especially animals.

  17. alison says:

    I have a 3y/old who loves opening flaps to see what’s behind. He will give or take textures but flaps are the best thing ever to him.

  18. Gemma Matthews says:

    My little boy is a massive book fan, he will sit looking through a book so happily for ages! He loves books with animals in as he’s learning to experiment with sounds, he has ‘woof woof’ off to a tee now 🙂 he also loves books that interact with him like lifting flaps and different textures so if he won one of your books, he’d be so chuffed, I also love reading books with him as its one of the only times I can steal a cuddle off my active little man! 🙂 xx

  19. Jayne Bousie says:

    Reading a book together is such a lovely time to bond. My 19 month old boy loves choosing a book and sits happily looking carefully at each picture. His favourite thing to do is point and say his version of the word. These books are fab! His vocabulary is coming on in leaps and bounds. By coincidence, the ‘First Words’ book is at the foot of his cot waiting for him to wake up in the morning. He sits and reads beautifully while I listen to him over the monitor happily chatting away!

  20. Kate says:

    Turning the pages and finding familiar things like “baby” or “doggy” etc but most of all likes books with different textures to feel – these sound perfect!

  21. Louisa Turner says:

    My toddler loves snuggling into bed at night and reading a story(or 3) with mummy. She repeats back the words, points out what is in the pictures and loves turning the pages when we get to the end of each one. Books really seem to help with her nightime routine as i have always read to her and now when i finish reading the 3rd story she lays down and says “ni, night mummy”.

  22. Rachel Smith says:

    My daughter loves turning the pages herself. She likes books about animals best, I have to make the noise of each different animal and she tries to copy, her monkey impression is so cute!

  23. Shilpi Chandra says:

    We love the bright colors, lifting flaps, feeling textures, hearing the different sounds and talking about the things happening in the pictures and also counting and colors. Its all a game of discovery for her and fun time.

  24. Tracey Bugbird says:

    Surprises in books go down well in the baby rhyme time sessions at our library, it really catches the baby’s attention.

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