Press Here by Hervé Tullet
Chronicle Books, 2011
Originally published in France in 2010 by Bayard Editions under the title: Un Livre.
Hardcover, Children’s/Juvenile Picture Book—really, for all ages.
Press Here is magical—and a delight for any age. The daughter, who is not only a very cool tween, but a TAG reader of books well-above her age, was seen the other day on the floor of the Library with Hervé Tullet’s Press Here, a rather simple looking pre-school interactive book—at least, that is what I thought when I saw it. We were at the “Lucky Day” shelves of the Juvenile Section. I figured the book had been mistakenly shelved. It may have been, but Natalya was pressing and shaking and blowing across the pages. She insisted I take a turn with the book. And when we got it home, we insisted Sean take his turn as well.
The instructions in the book are simple. “Press here [on the yellow dot] and turn the page,” “Rub the dot on the left…gently,” “Tap the yellow dot 5 times,” “And five taps on the red…” What is marvelous is what happens when you do and turn the page. It is a magic trick. And while you are older and know that you could just flip the page and the change will occur without following instruction, it is more fun to play along; you have a want to suspend yourself in the magic. As Publishers Weekly writes, “The joy is in the tacit agreement between artist and reader that what’s happening is magic.”
The anticipation builds as you progress through the book and are asked to “tilt the page” this way and that, or clap so many times, or try to press on all the yellow dots that are spread out across the two pages.* What wonderfully whimsical thing will occur next? Even on the second or third pass through the book, or even experiencing the book with another, there is a smile, a delighted laugh ready. Press Here is a book you should not miss out on, regardless of age, or perhaps, especially because of your age.
*on the last image (which is 3/4s the double-page) it was fun to watch the solution the person came up with to carry out the instruction. In a video I saw, the children pressed the yellow dots in succession. I spread out all my fingers to push them at the same time, Sean and Natalya used an arm.
noted: “Tullet’s brilliant creation proves that books need not lose out to electronic wizardry; his colorful dots perform every bit as engagingly as any on the screen of an iPad.” Publishers Weekly (April) which is something to get excited about.