The Button Book by Sally Nicholls, Illus. Bethan Woollvin

Review by Logaine Navascués

Tundra Books, Penguin Random House, 14 January 2020

32 pages, hardcover, $19.99 CAD, 978-0-73526-715-2

Ages 3-7, Grades Pre K-2

Picture Book

A curious group of animal friends explores what happens when they press a series of buttons and invite the readers to join in the fun. Making use of simple words and a short text, Nicholls relates to children’s daily routines, from singing to clapping to going to bed, and connects these playful activities to basic concepts such as colours and the expression of emotions. The warm, friendly language is ideal for read-alouds, with funny sounds and familiar phrases that will surely grasp young readers’ attention. 

Woollvin’s clean illustrative style follows the rhythm of the text, highlighting the colour of each button as the story progresses. The animals are outlined in a thick black line that contrasts with the openness of the white page, creating the perfect setting for colour to become a protagonist too. When the animals press a button, they all change to that hue, building up excitement for what will come next as the reaction unfolds in the same colour palette at the turn of the page. Sometimes, a spark of other colour jumps into the page as well, enhancing the whimsical nature of the tale.

Like a carnival, this interactive story leads readers through a series of challenges and games that will surely put them on their feet and make them have a great time, while fostering their creativity and imagination. As in Hervé Tullet’s playful storytelling style, the Button Book is meant to engage and surprise both children and adults by making them part of the story through the magical power of words and images.

Logaine Navascués is a Peruvian artist, writer, creative director, teacher and book maker, currently living in Vancouver. She is the proud mother of a beautiful daughter and two artist’s books. You can find her reading, collecting picturebooks and eating chocolate while pursuing her MA in Children’s Literature at UBC.

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