translated by Christopher Franceschelli
A yellow dot. An invitation to press on it. Then turn the page, see what happens: two yellow dots! Press again, ta-dah: three dots! What happens if you poke, blow on or even tip the book on its side?
Press Here is a masterpiece of simplicity, bringing interactivity in picture books to a whole new dimension, allowing children to interact with the page in a way that is never been done before. Its originality lies in its power to make the reader believe that he is controlling what happens to the dots, and therefore controlling the storyline. Older readers will understand that in fact that is not the case, but it does in no way lessen the enjoyment of the book and how much audiences are drawn into it; they will be just as eager to follow directions given by Tullet. In an age where children are used to all singing, all dancing entertainment from an early age (think “interactive” toys for babies), the simplicity of Press Here is breathtaking. Forget beeping and flashing lights, the special effects here will be shrieks of laughter, excessive clapping and pure joy. A blissfully happy story time is to be had in my house every time we read it, whether it is in French or in English. In fact, the memory of our first encounter with the book, in French, and the four of us sitting huddled together, all blowing at the pages, is one I will cherish for many years to come.
It would be easy to see that Press Here in opposition to the iPad, as an antidote to the app. But to me, that’s neither here nor there. Press Here is just an astounding example of the potential of the picture book. Which is why the original title, Un Livre (A Book) conveys so much more about the tour de force that this book really is. Because despite all the cleverness and the interaction, it remains after all, simply that, a book. It celebrates the ability that the book has to draw the best from the reader’s imagination. It reminds us that the relationship between book and audience is incredibly powerful.
Press Here also offers a great opportunity to teach colours with the youngest audiences.
As part of the Press Here blog tour, I am delighted to present you with a sneak peek with an exclusive extract:
Hervé Tullet is renown and admired in France for his unusual style, his way of “working” with the book, and his use of colour. He is the winner of the coveted Prix Sorcières for Press Here. The Library Mice household have been great admirers of his work for a while, and my son particularly has always been a great fan of his book Moi, c’est Blop!
Needless to say, whether in French or English, Press Here is a:
Many thanks to Chronicle Books for providing a review copy of “Press Here”.
All illustrations Ó Hervé Tullet