Format: Picture book
Author and illustrator: Britta Teckentrup
Publisher: Nosy Crow (published August 2015)
It’s Ellie’s bath time.
Can you help her make some waves?
Ellie the elephant is enjoying her bath, accompanied by her rubber ducky, when she is joined by an uninvited visitor: a bright green crocodile splashes in to join her. Then a flamingo turns up. And then…a tiger! At last, when it seems the bath cannot possibly fit another creature, a mouse joins the party. What’s a poor elephant to do?
Little fans of Press Here, Tap the Magic Tree, and other interactive picture books will enjoy this simple, sweet picture book with its bright collaged images and its invitation to the reader to tilt the book this way and that to make waves for Ellie to ride and (every kiddo’s favourite part — or at least my kids’) to shout, “Get out, Crocodile!” The book features lovely attention to detail, from the spot gloss on the water to give it some sheen to the droplets on the last page. Get Out of My Bath! is simple but definitely a winner. And best of all, it’s suitable for kids of different age groups — Little E (four) and Tiny J (just turned two) have been loving reading this one before bed for the past week. If you’re walking past our house around seven, you’re pretty much guaranteed to hear a very loud “Get out, Crocodile!”
Format: Picture book
Author and illustrator: Hervé Tullet
Publisher: Chronicle Books (published Jauary 2011)
It’s unusual for a truly unique idea to hit the children’s publishing world. In Press Here, art-director-turned-kids’-book-author Hervé Tullet has combined the format of the book with something entirely new: beginning with just one yellow dot in the middle of the page and the inviting word “Ready?,” this book takes the reader on a jaunt through a magical world of dots that move, shake, grow, slide — all while remaining entirely static on the page. The reader is invited to press, tap, and rub the dots, to tilt and shake the book, to blow the dots into place, to clap, and otherwise affect what happens on each page as the dots change.
Press Here may have been the foundation of a new genre of “interactive” children’s books that have followed in its wake, such as Tap to Play and Tap the Magic Tree. In this case, however, imitation truly is the sincerest form of flattery since the new books provide a fun new way to enjoy reading for kids — and the people who read to them. (Little E and I always laugh when we shake the book together.) If you haven’t tried one of the books in this field, check your local library. Press Here, the book that kicked the movement off, is a great place to start.
Parental advisory: Press Here ends with an invitation to read the book again from the beginning. Seasoned bedtime story readers will know that this can be an inescapable trap. The book is unendingly charming for little ones, but the charm can wear thin for grown-ups after seventeen or eighteen readings. Consider yourselves warned.