Last summer when I made the 2013-2014 book list, I knew that Press Here by Herve Tullet had to be on it. The book made the list, but at the very end of our book club “year” (our “year” starts in July, so technically, this book is the last of our 2013-2014 regular meetings and our next “year” of books begins with our July meeting). So, we’ve waited a LONG time for this fabulous book, but it was worth the wait! If you haven’t read this book with your toddler/pre-schooler, you really must get your hands on a copy!
Press Here begins with a single painted yellow dot on a page and asks readers, “Ready?”. Page two has the same yellow dot, but reads: “Press here and turn the page.” As readers turn the pages and follow the instructions, one yellow dot turns to two, then to three, and then readers rub, shake, turn, blow, and clap to turn the those dots into more colored dots and all kinds of configurations. This book is highly interactive and sure to result in some giggles. With just the right suspension of disbelief, readers will be amazed at the perceived power they have to influence the page. There’s also some counting, some patterning, and some direction following that make this book a great learning opportunity too.
Due to the highly interactive nature of the book, most members of the group brought their own copy so that each child (or just a couple of kids) had a book to interact with. We recommend this approach for a group reading of this particular book. We read together, but the kids got to interact with each page of their own book as we went along. The kids were SO happy during the reading of this book and really quite engaged.
To mimic the dots in the book, we dot painted using cotton balls clipped to clothes pins. (I’ve seen this idea used so many times, I can’t credit it to one place in particular.) The kids held the clothes pins and dipped the cotton balls into primary colored paint (red, yellow, blue), like the colors in the book. Each child had three cotton ball/clothes pin “brushes”, a paper plate with each color of paint, and two sheets of paper folded in half to look like a book (inspired by this website: http://www.teachpreschool.org/2011/11/let-your-preschoolers-press-here/). The kids could dot paint a story like in the book if they wanted to, just paint dots, or really, just experiment with the brushes and paint however they wanted! We used Crayola Washable Tempera paint, but if you have slightly younger children and are worried about the paint going into their mouths, you could use the homemade (and safe to consume) finger paint that we used at our Apples Here meeting.
Snack time also mimicked the dots in Press Here. The older children in our group ate (frozen) yogurt covered banana slices, which looked a little like the jagged dots in the book. To make these, I dipped each round slice of banana into yogurt, placed on wax paper, and froze over night. I used three different kinds of yogurt to get three different colors (strawberry-red, lemon-yellow, and blueberry-blue/purple). Each child got one of each color to start with on their white plates to look like one of the pictures in the book and then they ate as many more as they wanted! The babies in the group got (frozen) yogurt dots. I used the same yogurt, placed a couple of scoopfuls into a plastic baggie, cut the tip of the baggie corner off and squeezed the dots on to wax paper to freeze overnight. Both frozen snacks are easy to peel off of the wax paper by hand or with a spatula. I originally found the idea here: http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2012/03/frozen-yogurt-dots.html.
Press Here ends with a question to the reader: “Want to do it all over again?” and, at least in our house, we HAVE done it over and over and over again! Luckily, we’ll be able to “mix it up” a bit with Herve Tullet’s sequel to Press Here, “Mix it Up” that comes out in September!