emergingreaders

For Our Friends in the Park

Posted on: 26 August 2011

Press Here by Hervé Tullet

I think most parents and caregivers would agree – being with children expands your world. Kids are out in the world constantly making new connections and building their community. It is a great thing and I’m grateful to my children for every new connection we make. Maybe especially when you live with young children, in a building, in the city, in the summer – the park is one place where community grows. I’ve read stories by other parents lamenting the end of park season and I have felt that way in the past few years as the summer begins to feel like it is making way for fall. Where would we go? What would we do? How could life continue without the space and connections we find regularly in the park? It doesn’t have to be a fancy park either. Sure, fancy rubber tarmac with zippy movers and climbing challenges are great; but even a small space with a few swings and some space to run around is fine.

This is the kind of park Sophie and I visit many afternoons on our way home from daycare/work. It is right across the street from another daycare, so we meet up with different parents and children, do some swinging, running and bumping (on the teeter-totter) and chat before finishing our way home. This park attracts younger children (perhaps because they are too young to demand a more sophisticated setting?), and it is here that Sophie has found a new role – that of the big 4-year old (using the “big kid” swing) among other children who are 2 or 3 years of age range.

While both Sophie and Elizabeth strongly enjoyed Press Here, I can imagine the younger children we see in this park really adopting it as a favorite. This is a book that I think would really develop in complexity of involvement along with a younger child – I can imagine beginning to read it with a child at 18 or 24 months and continuing to let the book evolve until they are a beginning reader. This book involves and will interest young children — what kid doesn’t love to press buttons?! The story makes the reader and listener active participants in a tale about dots. In our age of extended bling and over stimulation, this book is pure simple genius.

Even as I was thinking about writing about this book here, it reminded me of another book Night/Day: a book of eye-catching opposites. Sure enough these two books are by the same author/illustrator. The Night/Day book never seemed to become a favorite with my daughters and I never really understood why. Now I think that, although it is also a great book, the difference is the active involvement expected in Press Here. So this recommendation is for our friends in the park — we hope you get to connect with a copy of this book and enjoy it. We would love to hear your reaction and happy reading!

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