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Top 100 Picture Books #49: Press Here by Herve Tullet

#49 Press Here by Herve Tullet (2011)
38 points

When I first read this, I thought kids might not get it. I was completely wrong. Captivating and fun. Interactive without the gimmicks. – Stacy Dillon

An overwhelming hit at story time. The kids crawl over me to interact with this book. – Martha Sherod

Martha’s not wrong.  In my time I’ve seen interactive picture books come and go but the response I’ve received from this book is unlike any other I’ve seen.  I can hand this title to even the shyest librarian who is uncomfortable with storytime and by the end they’ll know what it feels like to be a rock star.  It’s the book that defines what it means to be a book.

The description from my review reads, “You know what kids love? Being told what to do. Seriously, it’s a thrill for them. Take Press Here. From the title onward children are given specific directions like ‘press the yellow dot again’ and ‘try shaking the book’. For every action the child takes, the book seems to respond with the turn of a page. Dots flit and fly in all directions. Sometimes child readers turn out the lights. Other times the dots grow huge on the page with every clap of the reader. By the time you’ve reached the end all the book has to say is, ‘want to do it all over again?’ and you can bet that every reader in the room, tall or small, will scream out an appreciative ‘YES!!!’ in response.”

  • Get a glimpse of some of the pages, if you’re curious.

The starred Kirkus review said, “Better read one-on-one to avoid the crush of excited participants; however, all audiences will smile at this visual jolt of imaginative play. Children and parents keen to explore technological interactivity will delight in recalling the infinite possibilities of the picture book.”

The starred Publishers Weekly review said, “The joy is in the tacit agreement between artist and reader that what’s happening is magic. Shh! Don’t tell.”

And The New York Times said, “The only unscripted moments are those in which an impatient child inevitably wrests the book from its current reader’s hands. But who can protest when the object in dispute is such an elegantly conceived picture book? And when the action is in large part that of the readers themselves? The loser can always be consoled with an app.”

The trailer speaks for itself:

And whether you like it or not, there is indeed an app for this book.  Consider the following:

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. I always meant to review this myself on my blog, and never got around to it. I was just so amazed how well it WORKS. Surely, I thought, people can’t get THAT caught up in doing the actions– it’s obvious what’s really happening. And yet you DO– no matter what age you are, you DO play along and it IS unbelievably fun! Ever since I showed this to my parents, they’ve bought a copy for just about every young family they know. Except us. Somehow we don’t have our own copy yet.