I came across the TouchThinkLearn series in one of my favorite toy stores in New Jersey and have been hooked on the series ever since. These books are a bit more expensive than most board books -- Amazon has them priced around $12. But purchasing these books (or even one) is well worth the extra money. Each TouchThinkLearn book (in addition to having simple and brightly colored illustrations) has a raised surface on one side of the page followed by a cutout on the opposite page. Many touch and feel board books allow children to feel different types of textures but the TouchThinkLearn series focuses solely on one type of texture: board book. This seems to allow the child to zero in on the raised or cutout object as well as its shape instead of on multiple textures.
Below from top to bottom you have TouchThinkLearn: Shapes, TouchThinkLearn: Farm, TouchThinkLearn: Vehicles, TouchThinkLearn: Shapes, TouchThinkLearn, Homes, TouchThinkLearn: Colors, and TouchThinkLearn: Opposites.
Another key feature of these books is the minimal text. Some pages have one word, some pages have a series of words. What's great about minimal text is that it encourages the parent and child to stop and really look at the illustrations instead of racing through the text in order to turn the page. In the image directly above for example you have an elephant and a cloud with one word on each page. Now, the above book is about opposites and clearly a cloud isn't the opposite of an elephant which is why the text simply reads "Heavy." "Light." But there's so much room for additional vocabulary (either as the child gets older and is looking for more words or because the child recognizes something on the page and is excited to know what it is). "Heavy, grey elephant with big ears!" "Light, white cloud in the blue sky!" for example.
And while there's nothing wrong with reading exactly what's on the page, the minimal text really allows the parent to decide whether or not to add words or to leave the text as is. In many of the TouchThinkLearn books, the pages have a series of words which the parent can either say all at once or pick and choose from. For example, in the third image from the top (of the yellow cement mixer) you can see a series of words. "Cab. Cement. Brick. Tires. Door. Door handle. Brake light," etc. For my 14-month-old I might say "Cab, cement, and brick" (pointing to each appropriate object) but I don't think I'll start adding "Brake light" and "door handle" just yet.
Whether you prefer to stick to the text or expand it these books give you the opportunity to interact with the pages in whichever way you think is best for you and your child. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.
Other TouchThinkLearn Board Books: