peeking, opening, unfolding…books with surprising pages

Today’s books feature pages that take us by surprise — with stair-step pages to turn, unexpected flaps that lift and fold out, and intricately-cut pages inviting us to peek, peer, and discover.

For those who love this sort of thing, I’ve also added links to two dozen books from the Marmalade archives that also feature similarly-tantalizing fol-de-rol.

Ten on a Twig, created by Lo Cole
published in 2020 by Sourcebooks

Ten colorful birds perched on a twig find one reason or another to exit the line-up. As we count backwards until only one fellow remains, the birds who have left form a parade at the bottom of the page. They’re marching off with portions of that twig in their beaks. What are they up to?

A jolly rhyming text, pert birds, and a happy, surprise ending make this superb toddler fare.  And its pages are sturdy enough for little busy hands. Ages 18 months and up.

Counting Creatures, written by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Sharon King-Chai
published in 2020 by Dial Books for Young Readers

Juicy color and brilliant design wow us on every page of this catalog of creatures. Beginning with mama bat, who has one baby, we proceed to mamas nurturing more and more young ones.  The sheep has two lambs. The leopard has three cubs.  Onwards and upwards to mamas of 25 and more!

Every set of babies is hidden behind clever and varied flaps to lift and unfold. And when we meet the last mama of the bunch, we discover that her babies have been scattered throughout all the pages. Back we go to spot and count them all.

Deliciously lovely for ages 2 or 3 and up.

Garden Jungle, created by Hélène Druvert
originally published in France in 2019; US edition 2020 by Thames & Hudson

Featuring by far the most intricately cut pages of the three, this little beauty will best serve children with patience and careful fingers.  Those kids are out there, and they will marvel over this little beauty.

The storyline is of a boy named Tom who feels bored in his back yard until his imagination takes over and the trees and plants become, for him, a jungle to explore.

Here’s where the lines of the text become nearly expendable as the delicate pages reveal a tropical paradise with plants, birds, and jungle creatures, some colorful, some hiding for us to discover.

Tom has a glorious afternoon of discovery, as do we! Elegant, fanciful, a rare treat for ages 5 and older.

Want more of this kind of format? Here are two dozen books featuring pages with flaps, pages that accordion out, or die-cut pages, all from the Marmalade archives. Click on the title to find my original review.


Apples and Robins

Bird & Diz

Boat Works

Dear Zoo

Do You Know Which Ones Will Grow?

Eggs 1 2 3: Who Will the Babies Be?

Eye Spy: Wild Ways Animals See the World


Go Away Big Green Monster


The Hidden Alphabet

Inside Outside

Inside This Book (are three books).

Lemons Are Not Red

Open This Little Book

Outstanding in the Rain

Polar Bear’s Underwear

The Street Beneath My Feet


The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Water Land

Who Am I? A Peek-Through-Pages Book of Endangered Animals

Yum! Yuck! A Foldout Book of People Sounds


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