I love innovation especially when it’s simple and effective. These four children’s books are bound along the top edge giving them a vertical format and a totally different reading experience! Instead of flipping pages right to left these books you flip from bottom to top and each take advantage of this format shift in a unique way.
First up is Shadow, a wordless picture book follow-up to Wave by Suzy Lee with illustration full of movement. It is about a little girl who uses her imagination to bring shadows to life. On the top page of each spread you see this little girl and the actual things in the garage and on the bottom page are the shadows and what they become. Hold the book open at a 90 degree angle and it will feel like you are in the garage too!
Next is Wabi Sabi written by Mark Reibstein and beautifully illustrated with textural mixed-media by Ed Young. In this book a curious cat goes on a quest to learn the meaning of her name. Each page gets this cat closer to a difficult to explain meaning with a haiku. There is also a traditional haiku written vertically on each page and translated at the end. Layers of complexity add up to simplicity in this book!
By the way, Ed Young was recently part of the winning team for Nighttime Ninja. Check out the full list of Kid’s Choice picks at Pragmatic Mom!
The newest one on my list is Leo Geo a comic bool by Jon Chad. Wowzers! Does this book get you disoriented (but in a good way)! This guy decides to travel to the center of the earth and back, all the way educating us on geological stuff and having (likely fictional) strange encounters. The vertical formatting really makes you feel like you are going down and when you get to the center and must turn the book upside down to continue!
And last but not least is a book of poems written and illustrated by Douglas Florian (one of my favorites). On each page of Poetrees is a different fun, short, and informative poem about tree types or tree elements. The whimsical paper-bag gouache paintings complement the poems perfectly and the vertical format is a fitting showcase for tall trees!
Update: Adding two more
I can’t believe I forgot Snowballs by Lois Elhert. Each page of this vertical book features a different member of a snowman family. I love the found object collages in this book so much I had to buy it!
And this fun one I read both ways in the book store! A Long Way Away by Frank Viva is about an alien who travels all the way from a planet in outer space to the depths of earth’s ocean. Once he completes his journey down you can reread the book backwards to follow his return trip home!
Sure, it always feels great moving forward but by why not trying going vertical for a change!