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Monday, August 4, 2014

HELP! WE NEED A TITLE! Written and illustrated by Herve Tullet. Candlewick Press, Random House. 2014. $ 16.99 ages 4 and up


How are we supposed to do that?


Er, yes. That would be great.
We're not quite ready yet,
you see."

I was lucky enough to be able to share this book on Friday with Sadie and Clarke. It's so much fun to listen in on the conversations that books evoke with young listeners. Sadie, almost 7, was totally understanding all that was happening in this interactive book when Clarke, almost 4, chose to join us and see what was going on. Sadie liked the color, the characters, and the building of story. Clarke was more interested in the black smudges and why they were there, and in the photo of the writer himself. Sadie was cool in the wake of the her brother's questions. Soon Clarke went back to cars and blocks, Sadie heaved a sigh of relief and we got back to this funny and frenetic read.

Opening the cover only begins to prepare us for what's coming...we have characters, two of them. They are a pig and a princess, playing catch. They must be able to feel eyes upon they are quick to acknowledge that we are watching them! Soon, others are staring and asking the reader important questions.

They are obviously not ready to tell a story. But, they find a landscape. Not much there to entice a reader. Perhaps a bad guy! Nope, that doesn't work. No one seems to know much about a story; that leads to a revelation...what about an author???

Up pops Herve Tullet, actual photo for his head and the rest of his torso crayoned in. Getting a good look at his neat-as-a-pin studio, we can see the materials he uses for his work, and a picture in progress of the characters we have met up until this point. It appears he's not ready either. He acquiesces to create a short story for the audience. Not pleased when it is considered only 'so-so', he has a suggestion:

"It was so-so?
Look, if you're not happy, you can go
and look for a story somewhere else.

Clarke's other favorite part was to 'press here' and turn out the desk lamp, leaving all in darkness!

What better way is there to show young readers how stories work? What would now keep them from writing something of their own?  BAZINGA!


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