Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bonjour, Monsieur Tullet!

Hervé Tullet—the French author, illustrator, and ad agency art director known as the “Prince of Preschool”—has been popping up all over the office recently.

Tullet’s new book Press Here directs readers to press, rub, shake, and blow on colorful dots which then “transform” with the page turn. Chronicle’s been promoting Press Here with an adorable book trailer starring a group of kids who shriek in joy as the book “responds” to their touch—the brightly colored circles grow, shrink, slide, change color, or multiply from page to page. Like the kids in the trailer, I love how interaction and imagination bring the book to life in my hands.

Phaidon Press just published six board books from Tullet’s "The Game of…" series. The Game of Mix and Match and The Game of Mix-up Art are your standard flip-the-flaps books; the reader can choose to either seek out pieces of a complete picture or mix different shapes and patterns. The Game of Finger Worms is more story than game; after drawing smiling “finger worm” faces on my fingers, I had a Thumbelina-esque experience popping my pointer fingers through the holes in each page and wiggling them around the world of the story. The Game of Let’s Go! and The Game of Light are slightly more abstract and may require adult help (Light involves holding the book at an odd angle and projecting shapes on a wall with a flashlight). My personal favorite is The Game of Patterns, in which opposing pages contain what looks like an identical collection of images, but closer examination reveals subtle differences. This would be an excellent (and durable!) book to have in the car or travel bag. For more on “The Game Of…” books, see Betsy Bird’s in-depth review on Fuse #8.

Tullet’s The Book with a Hole (Abrams, May) is a “zany” activity and coloring book with a die-cut hole in its center. Readers can “crumple up a sheet of paper, make a ball, and play basketball” on one page; other pages encourage kids to “dress up” as “king of the castle” with their faces through the hole or to build a skyscraper to fit in the hole. As with all of Tullet’s creations, combining imagination with book interaction is the main goal, which is entertaining for readers of all ages.

—Cindy Ritter


  1. Woo, Cindy! What a great review! Your enthusiasm for the series, and the author, comes through in each sentence. And the descriptions? Fantastic! I might just go by the books for myself, they sound like so much fun! Splendiferous job!

  2. We love these books at the Booksmith. The board books, in particular, are the most innovative board books I've seen in a while. Toddlers love pages that give them something to do with their hands.