Hervé Tullet's Press Here—technically a picture book, I suppose, though it feels like a genre all its own—is a reminder that a little imagination can supply the sense of wonder that’s already starting to fade as our touchscreens become routine.
And so it goes, brilliantly, for page after page, with vivid, dynamic "results" coming from instructions to blow on pages, hold the book up on its end, tap its sides, and so on. Tullet's endless inventiveness takes what could have been a one-note concept through ever surprising variations, so that in its entirety, Press Here feels almost like a satisfying animated short. In a sense, that's what it is, really: the first slow-mo flip book.
Even the youngest readers who can glean the words (mostly simple ones, all expressed conversationally) will start giggling within the first few pages, but my six-year-old was entranced, too. And parents will be hard-pressed not to smile with every page turn. This is one of those children's books for which you reserve a place of honor on the shelf, next to the Sendak and the Suzy Lee.
So while I'm eager to see what creative breakthroughs technology will bring to children's books in the coming years—and I have no doubt there will be many incredible ones—it's also nice to see a fertile mind and brush demonstrate that print still has a trick or two left up its sleeve.
[Cover image courtesy of Chronicle Books. Interior photo by Whitney Webster.]