Q&A with Hervé Tullet (Yes, It Rhymes!)
Hervé Tullet is known for his prodigious versatility, from directing ad campaigns to designing fabric for Hermès. But his real love is working with children, for whom he has published dozens of books, including Press Here. He lives in Paris, France.
Gail Cornwall: Why do you think kids respond to Press Here and Mix It Up with such enthusiasm?
Hervé Tullet: Well, I don’t know. And I don’t really want to know. When I create a book, I do not test, and each book, as I’m working on it, is a surprise. I don’t know how the children will react and that’s what I love to discover when I’m doing readings. Of course, I’ve done about eighty books, and more and more I understand that my books encourage confidence, dialogue. And the style—slots, dots and scribbles—speaks very much to the child, as if we were talking with the same vocabulary.
What drove you to start creating children’s books?
A revolt! When I had my first child, children’s books looked like some stupid marketing thing. There were a lot of stupid characters, stupid childish stories, ugly illustrations, fake tiny children and fields with bears talking to rabbits. I needed to help. I knew books could change your life. So I wanted to help children with books that sparkle, and help the teachers, librarians, educators, in their daily life—which can be very difficult—by giving them a way to change the routine. Maybe to change the world! By bringing them innovative and funny books, activities, and ideas to their work and play with the children.
Do you have any suggestions for parents on how to make the most of reading your books with their little ones?
Just have fun, get involved in the reading, the reading of the world! The world is a book—look at it like that! Take a walk in your neighborhood as if you are reading a book. Ask, “What’s going on in this house? What is this mark on the sidewalk?” and so on. Children need to understand us and the other way around.
By Hervé Tullet
Publisher’s synopsis: Press the yellow dot on the cover of this book, follow the instructions within, and embark upon a magical journey! Each page of this surprising book instructs the reader to press the dots, shake the pages, tilt the book, and who knows what will happen next! Children and adults alike will giggle with delight as the dots multiply, change direction, and grow in size! Especially remarkable because the adventure occurs on the flat surface of the simple, printed page, this unique picture book about the power of imagination and interactivity will provide read-aloud fun for all ages!
And coming this September! Watch colors splatter, mix and transform in Mix It Up!, the highly anticipated follow-up to Press Here.
Ages 2 and up | Publisher: Chronicle Books | 2011 | ISBN-13: 978-0811879545
By Hervé Tullet
Publisher’s Synopsis: Accept Hervé Tullet’s irresistible invitation to mix it up in a dazzling adventure of whimsy and wonder. Follow the artist’s simple instructions, and suddenly colors appear, mix, splatter, and vanish in a world powered only by the reader’s imagination. Tullet—who joins such greats as Eric Carle and Leo Lionni as a master of his craft—sets readers on an extraordinary interactive journey all within the printed page. Tullet prompts plenty of giggles in addition to a profound understanding of colors, and once again displays his unique genius and vision in a work that is a glorious and richly satisfying companion to Press Here.
Ages 3 and up | Publisher: Chronicle Books | 2014 | ISBN-13: 978-1452137353