Sep 23, 2014

The Miracle and Magic of Picture Books: Herve Tullet

Chronicle Books, 2011

When PRESS HERE by Herve Tullet first appeared at a Children's Literature Conference in Europe (Bologna Book Fair? Can't quite recall), Publishers Weekly reported that crowds gathered around. Adults were waiting turns to get their hands on it for themselves. 
In the three years since that introduction to the world, PRESS HERE has remained on the New York Times Children's Bestseller list continuously. The extensive and glowing words of praise in reviews for this book, one with brief and simple text, indicate what a remarkable achievement this book is.

That's why the bar is so incredibly high for any book attempting something similar, even if its creator is the one and only Herve Tullet himself. 
Chronicle Books, September, 2014
In the case of Tullet's recent MIX IT UP  the magical interactivity is only the start of the fun. In this "app without batteries" early concepts of primary and secondary colors, blending, shades and tones set the stage for engagement, exploration, prediction, and creativity. Just as the adults who viewed PRESS HERE for the first time responded with childlike wonder, kids and adults alike will find their fingers ITCHING for paints and papers, or walls, sidewalks, or any other surface on which to "LOOK, PLAY, and MIX IT UP" on their own.

In an article in American Psychological Association titled UNRAVELING NEW MEDIA'S EFFECTS ON CHILDREN the question of screen-time-impact is considered. Unfortunately, most studies (except for those conducted by APP producers) suggest the effects are AT LEAST as negative as they are positive, especially in the youngest children. Media and access are accelerating  more rapidly than we can imagine, but changes in human developmental can't begin to keep up. 


Kids, especially the youngest, need:

human "face time" (in real life) 
language (conversation, reading aloud)
physical engagement with the environment
TIME (not speed) to process the world.

Whether you're an advocate for appropriate early childhood development or not, do yourself a favor and get this (these) book(s) for a child you know and care about. The HUGE bonus will be that you get to read them for yourself without waiting in line. I'm guessing they'll be among your child's favorites, and yours, too! 


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Picture books are as versatile and diverse as the readers who enjoy them. Join me to explore the wacky, wonderful, challenging and changing world of picture books.