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Review of Press Here

Press Herestar2 Press Here
by Hervé Tullet; illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary     Handprint/Chronicle     64 pp.
4/11     978-0-8118-7954-5     $14.99

The ongoing debate regarding the future of picture books in a digital age has left many struggling for evidence to back up their assertions that traditional books will survive. Here is an interactive book that gives the iPad a licking, and does it without fancy graphics, tabs, or flaps. Tullet’s modestly proportioned square book goes out of its way to appear low tech, with a handwritten all-caps typeface and art so simple it can barely be called art. The heavy, coated white paper with rounded edges is as smooth to the touch as any glass-covered digital device. Speaking directly to the reader, the first spread (“Ready?”) shows a filled-in circle about one inch in diameter apparently drawn quickly with a yellow marker. On the next spread, the same yellow dot appears unchanged while the text reads, “Press here and turn the page.” On the third spread, the ingenuity of this book becomes clear when a second yellow dot appears to the left of the first. Assuming that the participant has suspended disbelief and actually pressed on the page of the book, Tullet has set his hook and now only needs to reel the reader in. Pressing, tilting, blowing, and clapping transform the colored dots (red and blue soon join yellow) in a manner that shows how thoroughly the author understands children, setting up predictable patterns to promote accurate guessing, and then introducing some surprises. The simplicity of Tullet’s presentation illuminates the tactile and kinetic aspect of every picture book (i.e., turning the page) and suddenly makes the old form seem the height of postmodernism.

From the July/August 2011 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Lolly Robinson About Lolly Robinson

Lolly Robinson is the creative director for The Horn Book, Inc. She has degrees in studio art and children's literature and teaches children's literature at Harvard University's Graduate School of Education. She has served on the Caldecott and Boston Globe-Horn Book Award committees and blogs for Calling Caldecott and Lolly's Classroom on this site.

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