When I was brainstorming ideas to meet the goal of this blog, one of the first ideas that popped into my head was a dedicated space for some of my and my family’s favorite books.
I LOVE books.
That is probably an understatement. My husband would say that I have a compulsive addiction to them. I get great pleasure from reading—touching the books and flipping the pages, being transported to whatever setting in which the story is taking place, having the characters instantaneously take shape in my mind’s eye. Depending on the type and quality of book considered, reading truly offers no better opportunity for use of the imagination, the cultivation of ideas, education in grammar, spelling, vocabulary, geography, and history, and valuable cuddle time when children are included. From the combination of all this, Favorite Book Friday is born.
Every other Friday (that’s the plan right now anyhow), I’ll write about a book we hold dear. The books highlighted could range from picture books to thick chapter books (my kids are spread out enough in age to cover that range). I am going to let my experiences and gut take over in picking out the books for each post.
So without further delay, here is the first post in the Favorite Book Friday series:
I know there is a contingency of people who believe books for children should strictly follow the guidelines that they employ good vocabulary and grammar and contain only beautiful, well-done images. I tend to agree with those sentiments for the average child’s book. However, I think there’s room in my kids’ library for an occasional absurdly silly book with no educational or moral benefit to it.
The books (yes…there are two!) I’m highlighting today fall somewhere between the traditional and silly. While they’re not stories, they are educational. They are also interactive (without pop-ups, flaps, tabs, or any other fancy doodads) and my kids enjoy them thoroughly. I’m talking about Press Here and Mix it Up! by Herve Tullet.
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Press Here is the first of this set to be published.
It starts with a simple yellow paint dot in the middle of a white page with the instructions to “PRESS HERE AND TURN THE PAGE”. The consequence of following those directions is discovered on the next page where another yellow dot has appeared and a new set of instructions are given. And so on the book goes giving instruction and showing the results of the reader’s actions. Sometimes a new dot appears, sometimes they change color, sometimes they get bigger or smaller or fall onto a different part of the page. It all depends on what the instructions say to do. By the time the book is finished, your children will have pressed, clapped, shook, counted, tapped, and blown their way back to the single yellow dot.
The Boy and Little Mama being good older siblings and over-exaggerating their response to Tres pressing the different dots. She knows you have to touch them, but she doesn't exactly follow the directions at this age.
Simply putting it, this is a fun book. Even though they knew what would happen to the dot on each page after the first read through, my kids still enjoy this book as though they really are the ones magically making the changes to the dot. It’s certainly not a literary masterpiece, but it teaches cause and effect, following directions, and counting. Those things are good, but I love reading it to my kids merely because it makes them giggly and I get to spend some happy-filled, quality time with them.
There is a large format version of the book, of which I was unaware of until doing a little research for this article.
It's billed as being good for classroom or group settings, but I think it would be equally great for home use (and if I had known about it, we would probably possess the larger version rather than the normal size one we have).
A book this fun should be made into a game, right? No worries!
Press Here: The Game is a real thing. It's won lots of awards and is highly rated. And yes, it is saved onto one of my many Amazon shopping lists! (Update 10/30/17: This game has been purchased for Christmas. After it's been used, I'll share my thoughts.)
Following the success of Press Here, Herve Tullet produced Mix it Up!
The concept is similar to Press Here and it also starts with a paint dot, but it’s a bit different after that. Learning to follow directions and understanding cause and effect are still benefits in this title, but the real educational point is understanding how mixing colors together changes them or produces new colors. At different points, the dot will become drips, smooshes (that’s a very technical term), strokes, splatters, and blobs. This would be a great book to read if your kiddos are learning about colors, and it also serves as a good inspiration for your family's own art project. Read it through, then have your kids make their own version of the book. Warning though…it WILL be messy (but that’s why they make tempura paint and soap).
The previous pages had a yellow blob of paint and a blue blob of paint standing on their own. The directions tell you to rub them into each other. After doing that, you can see the result. This picture doesn't accurately pick up the green that is created where the two colors meet.
Like Press Here, my kids are not bored with Mix it Up! even though they now know what is going to happen. I figure that’s the sign of a good book—even one that doesn’t actually tell a story in the traditional sense.
While Herve Tullet has written a number of children's books (and they sure peak my interest), there are two more interactive books in this particular series that I plan to add to our library and possibly review here one day. They are Let's Play and Say Zoop!
From what I can tell they both start with the paint dot and things take off from there. Let's Play adds the element of emotion to the dot and Say Zoop! has the dot reacting to sound rather than motion.
Has your family had the joy of experiencing these books? Let me know in the comments! If this post inspires your family to read these books to your kids, let me know how they liked them.
Prefer more visually oriented organization? Check out my Pinterest board for all Favorite Book Friday posts.