A Simpler Time + A Universal Compulsion: The Dark Lure of the Lift-the-Flap Book

While I may have complained a bit about the whole Care Bears situation, that isn't—of course—the whole story. Because the young gentleman in question and I also had a fine time reading a book that I can only describe as excellent.


It's been a long long time since I read a lift-the-flap book. And I am here to tell you that they are still awesome. Who doesn't want to know what's behind the flap? It's like an Advent Calendar for everyone! And I can tell you that the young gentleman in question found every single illustration in this book hilarious! Who's there? IT'S A CHICKEN!!!!!!!! I can't quite convey the glee, even with all caps and multiple exclamation points. 

I mean, I would get tired of reading them on my own (I think) but to read to a kid? A little guy? Perfection.

And, if the truth must be known (as, of course, it must) he wasn't the only one who was interested, nay, intrigued by what lay behind the flaps. First the 7-year-old drifted nonchalantly over, then the 10-year-old, until the 13-year-old joined them as well. And they were, of course, nice enough to let him lift the flaps, but it wasn't because they didn't want to. And, if we're going all out on honesty here, when his tiny finger struggled for a while the the barn door (A PENGUIN! Or whatever) I wasn't above, "Do you need some help with that flap, kid?"


"Are you sure?" My fingers were itching to lift that damn flap.



So why do we all want to do this? (I'm pretending that I'm not the only one who covets lifting the tiny flaps, OK?) Is this some universal human compulsion? It must be, right? And when will someone find the miraculous material that can withstand the rigors of the most enthusiastic readers in the known world? (Alas poor Wheels on the Bus, we knew ye well….)

Any answers to these burning questions will be much appreciated. 

6 thoughts on “A Simpler Time + A Universal Compulsion: The Dark Lure of the Lift-the-Flap Book

  1. I, too, want desperately to lift the flaps but let my son do it, since it’s HIS book (darn).
    I think it’s got something to do with the idea of peeking. It seems illicit, even though obviously it’s not. You’re pulling back the curtain to reveal what’s inside, and even if you know what’s inside already, there’s this strange feeling of excitement simply because it’s hidden. Everybody loves to peek at hidden things – well, everybody who has any curiosity at all, anyway.
    I will tell you, I think that laminated cardboard would hold up much better in these books. I don’t know how many pop-up and lift-the-flap books I have repaired with tape by now; it must be in the gajillions. I do find kind of a perverse pleasure in fixing the moving parts of pop-up books, though. I get to play engineer and my kids think I’m a genius for repairing something they thought would be broken forever.


  2. Yes. YES! I love lift the flap books too. We are sadly out of that phase. I use that 3M mailing tape to fix the books. Line everything up, tape…perfect. We call it “book tape” in our house.


  3. Our favourite was Peekaboo Park. I get nostalgic thinking about it. We had the sequel as well, Peekaboo Zoo, but as is often the case with sequels it didn’t quite live up to the promise of the first book.
    “Who’s in this flower warm and snug? Peekaboo! It’s ladybug!” It was a delight to find her there every time.


  4. Maybe it’s time for a grown-up lift the flap book. “Who’s sitting in her cubicle in despair? It’s Lisa!”
    Though an adult lift-the-flap book seems like it would tend uncomfortably toward 50 Shades of Grey…


  5. I don’t think we ever outgrow our delight in lifting the flap: remember how popular the Griffin and Sabine books were?


Leave a Reply to Kiera Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.