Tap! Tap! Tap! Dance! Dance! Dance!
Hervé Tullet, trans. from the French by Christopher Franceschelli. Chronicle, $19.99 (64p) ISBN 978-1-79722-146-5
Furthering his explorations of ways that readers can interact with color and form in the pages of a book, Tullet (Press Here) uses a primary palette to create a space for dance. “Ready? Place your hand here,” begins imperative text, showing a bright blue handprint on the page: “Close your eyes. Concentrate.” After some preliminary warm-ups, lines instruct the reader to move across a spread: “Put your hand here, and WHOOOOSH! Circle around the page three times.” Jumping, leaping, bouncing, and twirling—hands are invited to motion in ways that mimic a dancer’s movements, but on a book-size stage that lends itself to back seats and waiting rooms. Swirls, scribbles, and loops of paint describe graceful bearing (“You’re keeping them elegant, right?”) before transitioning into wilder visuals and moves (“STOP! It freezes midair”). Calligraphic visuals have the energy of abstract expressionist paintings, and the increasing looseness of the brushstrokes, which land more splashes and blots as the pages turn, affirm the freedom of imperfection. The book’s large trim size and plentiful pages offer ample time and space for joyful directed play that builds in energy as it goes. Let the dance begin. Ages 3–5. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/16/2023