In an age when the cool toys all require batteries and computer chips, how refreshing to find simple books — just paper & ink — that invite preschoolers to play! In France, Hervé Tullet is known as the “Prince of Preschool Books,” and he has created a series of board books that are delightfully interactive. Quite a few have been translated into English, and I hope more are on the way.
Press Here, by Hervé Tullet
This is by far my favorite Tullet book, and the one that has taken the U.S. by storm (62 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list). The concept is simple. The reader (or, more likely, listener) is invited to press the yellow dot, then turn the page — hey, now there are two yellow dots! Press again, turn the page — there are three! As you continue through the book, you press or rub the dots, clap, tilt or the shake the book, and the dots multiply, change colors, grow, shrink, and tumble around on the following page.
I’ve used Press Here for several preschool story times, and it’s always a hit. There are enough ways to interact with the book that each child has a chance to participate.
Here are some other Tullet books I’ve previewed, but not had the chance to use with kids. All are available in our library system. I’d be interested to hear from parents what your kids think of these, if you’ve read them.
This BIG book (12.6″ x 10.8″) really does have a great big hole in the middle when you open it up. Each two-page spread invites the reader to fill that hole with something: food on the plate, the face of the king, an elephant’s trunk, your hand (do you dare?) into the snake’s mouth. I’ve seen several blogs where parents and kids have made a game of posting pictures of various objects and faces in the hole. Lots of imaginative possibilities.
Yes, there’s a (much smaller) hole in the middle of this board book as well. Draw a smiley face on your finger or thumb, put it though the hole, and voilà*, on each two-page spread you have finger worms poking their heads out. They may be finger-worm dinosaurs, in pipes, in your cake, or at the bottom of the lake. Probably ideal for toddlers.
*voilà: French, in honor of Mr Tullet’s nationality.
This board book takes you on a journey. Close your eyes, and with your finger trace your way through the pages, following the fuzzy green line. It may loop and swirl, go around or through holes in the page. As you travel along, make up a story based on what you feel. This certainly requires concentration as the path gets more complex, so probably would not be interesting for those under 3 or so. It could be a very neat pre-reading experience for kinesthetic (active, touch-oriented) learners.
A book to be used in the dark, with a flashlight. Shine the light through the die-cut holes in each page to create images on the ceiling: the sun, stars, flowers, fish, smiling faces. (I tried it in my bedroom, and it worked!)
You can find details on other Tullet books in English here on Amazon, including some that sound cool but wouldn’t be in libraries because they invite the reader to doodle or color in them.