Press Here

I was recently browsing around at my favorite local children’s bookstore and overheard a woman and her little girl arguing over a book. The mom was trying to talk the (rather, shall we say, difficult) child into buying a Margaret Wise Brown book (God bless her) and the little girl sat right down in the middle of the aisle and said, and I quote, “I don’t WANT a book. A book doesn’t DO anything.” After reviving myself with smelling salts, I thought about how perhaps there are more little girls and boys around the world (horrors!) who might feel this way and it made me awfully sad. Because books do the most amazing things without actually doing anything at all. You know that. I know that. And luckily, I think all of my readers’ children know that.  But for those children out there who keep waiting for their books to talk in funny voices or play music or run around the house like literary robots, I hope that one day they find that one book that teaches them that the words on the page bring to life more than any game, any toy, any electronic doo-dad they could imagine. Amazingly, as I returned to that same bookstore this week I came across one of the most wonderful books to come along in some time – and it, quite ironically and whimsically, fits into this little soapbox speech of mine. Herve Tullet’s Press Here reminds children and adults alike that the magic of the word and the picture is truly that….magic. Acting as an interactive narrator, Tullet’s book asks the reader to follow the instructions throughout the book. “Press here and turn the page” it says and, lo and behold, that small touch has created something new on the following page. This is a wonderfully imaginative, wry and stunning book that, if nothing else, will remind us of the sheer brilliance of children’s books and the amazing powers of our own minds and fingers. Need more inspiration? Here’s the video for the book…


The Magic Mustache

In loving memory of my dad who had, quite possibly, the most debonair mustache on the face of the planet, I offer Gary Barwin’s hilarious book, The Magic Mustache. A wonderfully off-kilter retelling of the Jack of the Beanstalk tale, The Magic Mustache tells the story of a nose who goes to market to trade a pair of glasses for food. In the spirit of the well-intentioned Jack, the nose is talked into trading instead for a magic mustache. (Sounds good to me…I mean, seriously, a magic mustache? I’ll take it!) I don’t know about you, but my two sons can’t seem to leave our local party supply store without spending their allowance on those fake glasses with mustache and nose attached, so this book is quite the favorite around our house. Your kids will delight in the puns, wordplay, silly drawings and overall mayhem that, surprisingly, a nose and mustache can create.