My theory is that picturebooks will be the last form of literature that is swallowed up by the electronic era. Nothing can compare to a child getting to flip pages with their small, newly conscious mobile hands and having a book unfold in front of them, sending rich, touchable images across their gaze. Plus, they can bite it.
Electronics just haven’t got the depth of image yet…but it will not be long. And for the time being we have books like Press Here by French author and illustrator Hervé Tullet. This book reverses the whole order of how ‘moving forward’ looks. Press Here takes our knowledge of technology and places it in a book, creating an interactive experience in the stagnant format of a hardback. On the cover you are confronted with a simple yellow dot and told to “press here.” Once you turn the page another yellow dot appears, as if your action created a reaction. The book utilizes the common aspects of a smart phone or iPad…devices I have seen many a toddler play around with on a train..such as flipping the device to make the image turn, shaking it to scramble the images, and, of course, the simple concept of pressing a button to make something happen. It even takes it beyond the capabilities of our technology, reacting to your blowing on the page and clapping your hands. What I love it that it is fun and interactive and saying “Look! Look! I’m a book and I am these things too!”
I’m not saying that this is going to be a classic by any means. But for this moment…yet another thing it has in common with electronics…it holds greatness.