The Button Book
The Button Book
Here’s a red button.
I wonder what happens
when you press it?
Using a simple story format, prolific British children’s writer Sally Nicholls (The Secret in Time, Things a Bright Girls Can Do, and 13 more picture books, chapter books and novels) has created a pleasant way to introduce and reinforce colours for young children. Her use of animals as characters will endear the illustrations to young readers while they learn to distinguish one colour from another, for example, blue from red. The animals are curious yet tentative as they discuss whether it’s a good idea to press the different buttons. Their conversations are animated: “Well, if you’re going to be like that, we’re going to press the yellow button instead.” It’s always a surprise when they reach out and touch it.
Illustrator Bethan Woollvin’s (Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood) animal characters are simple, yet representational, and then slightly abstract. They have anthropomorphic qualities, but not overly so. To assist the new learner, each page is coloured the same as the button being challenged. The animals are focused on their task, clearly concerned about the outcome of their decision. The colours are plain, with several shades of each used on the page to show children possible nuances. A white background reduces confusion and maintains a child’s attention on the colour being taught. Light grey and soft black are used to fill in some objects and keep the pictures interesting.
The final colours - white - leads to the perfect ending for a perfect day of play and learning - a good night’s sleep in the dark. The Button Book will be a helpful picture book in a family or a preschool setting.
Harriet Zaidman is a children’s and freelance writer and a book reviewer in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Her recently published middle years novel, City on Strike ( www.cmreviews.ca/node/756 ) is set in the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike.