High Five: A Picture Book Where Playing and Reading Collide
My two favorite hashtags on social media are #playwithyourkids and #readtoyourkids. And it’s always a special moment when a book or a game comes along that promotes both of these concepts at once. I love playing games that unfold like a story, and I love reading books that make everyone get more involved than you might expect.
I’m sure you’ve read some interactive picture books with your kids before. Maybe something like Press Here or Mix It Up. They’re interactive because the story might ask you to shake the book or turn it upside down or squeeze it tightly shut. And our kids have always been crazy about these kinds of books.
Well recently we’ve found the best one yet. It’s a new picture book called High Five. It was written by Adam Rubin and illustrated by Daniel Salmieri, the same team behind the very popular Dragons Love Tacos. Our son claimed just today that it’s his very favorite book right now - and that’s high praise.
And I must admit I personally have a soft spot for anything that champions the lost art of the high five. It’s high time to bring it back. I gave quite a few high fives back in the day. I kid you not, I have a handwritten note somewhere in our attic from my wife in the 8th grade that is addressed to the High Five King. So clearly I’m a trusted expert on this matter.
I liken the appeal of these interactive books to the concept of kinesthetic learning. We all know kids like to move and touch things and generally get involved. In fact, many studies show that lots of kids learn much better that way. So it should really come as no surprise to anyone that being asked to move around and become a part of the story is going to make kids very happy.
High Five is an interactive hand slapping competition. This is serious business. There are judges and everything. After just a little bit of training with Sensei, your kids are going to be thrown right into the most serious high five competition you’ve ever seen - competing hand to hand with the best of the best. I’m talking heavyweights like Kangaroo Paul and Octopus Jones. It’s rough out there. But if your kids survive, they’ll be going home as the high five champion of the world, with their very own trophy to prove it.
I am always going to loudly shout my praises for anything that sparks the imagination of our kids - and High Five has done just that. Upon our first reading - both our 6-year-old and our 3-year-old were instantly mesmerized by the interaction involved. They listened very intently to the instructions being given by their Sensei. They stretched their fingers in preparation and they elbowed each other for position to be the first to high five the next competitor. They were really into it.
Early in the book Sensei asks you to show him your most creative, signature high five. This has turned out to be a very entertaining part of the book, because upon further readings our kids enjoy trying to one-up each other to make the craziest new high five technique they can imagine. Between the legs, upside down, spin attack - it’s a sight to behold.
There are very few things in the world that bring me more pleasure than the look on our kids’ faces when their imaginations light up. When something truly inspires our son and gets his creative juices going - he simply emanates joy. He’ll talk about it for days. He’ll create his own judge’s scorecards for his mom and I so we can judge a high five competition between him and his sister. It’s what childhood is all about.
He has a special spot in his closet where he keeps treasures that are important to him. He even has a treasure chest to keep them in. It’s truly adorable and heartwarming to see the hodgepodge of things he wants to keep forever and keep safe.
After we read this book, he was so genuinely excited about earning the high five trophy at the end that he placed the book with his treasures in the corner of his closet. And I’m fairly certain that’s the highest honor a book can receive in this house.
Disclosure: High Five was provided to us by Penguin Young Readers to allow for this article. All thoughts and opinions are our own.
What’s your favorite interactive picture book? Do your kids get into the spirit as much as ours? Have you seen High Five yet? Let us know in the comments!