Don't Push The Button!
You can read my review of this book HERE
Publication Date: November 1, 2013
Age Level: 4 - 8
There's only one rule in Larry's book: don't push the button.
(Seriously, don't even think about it!)
Even if it does look kind of nice, you must never push the button. Who knows what would happen?
Okay, quick. No one is looking... push the button.
Artist and musician Bill Cotter had the perfect focus group while writing his first picture book: the students at the Church Street school of Music and Art in New York, a nonprofit organization where he teaches. The kids were introduced to Larry in all his many guises and his many different experiences before he became the cuddly critter and hero of DON’T PUSH THE BUTTON!
Bill Cotter studied Illustration at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). Bill now lives in New York City and teaches art and music to children of all ages. When he isn't drawing pictures, Bill loves to play the piano, paint murals, and pop bubble wrap. Bill's work has been in various publications, including Rolling Stone.
I recently had the opportunity to interview Bill Cotter, the author of the adorable book Don't Push The Button! Now I would like to share with you what we discussed.
1. What was your inspiration for the book Don't Push The Button! ?
My inspiration for this book was definitely my students. I was lucky enough to have a really fun job as a pre-K art and music teacher in Manhattan. My favorite part about that job was that if there was every a free moment, teachers were reading picture books to them. Day after day I was able to literally sit down with my target audience and see first hand how they reacted to different kinds of stories, characters, colors, textures, you name it. "Don't Push the Button" simply came out of my wanting to make a story that I know would be fun to read to my little students.
2. What was your favorite children's story growing up.
I would have to say the Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg. We read that book every year instead of "A Night Before Christmas" because we all loved it so much in my house. His rich illustrations was my earliest memory of thinking that maybe I could be an illustrator myself. That book introduced me to the idea that, with a lot of drawing practice, a person would have the ability transport people to totally different worlds just by rubbing pigment on a piece of paper.
3. Do you feel that the advance of mobile technology has decrease or increased children's reading levels and enjoyment?
I feel like the advancement of mobile technology only gives young readers another way to get information, which is great. As long as the content is worthwhile, it doesn't matter how it gets to the reader. One thing I'm afraid that is in danger are the small mental leaps that a young reader has to make when reading a traditional book. I feel like the illustrations and words are really only a jumping off point and the real magic is happening in the mind of the individual reader. The best illustrators always only give you the tip of the ice berg, because what the reader has to fill in for themselves will almost always be better than what you want to spoon feed them. Just because we can add voices, animation, and other interactive elements to digital content now, doesn't mean that we should. We forget that there are benefits (especially for a young and spongy mind) to literally leaving things to the imagination.
5. What is your absolute favorite thing about teaching children?
My favorite thing about teaching kids is having wonderfully honest conversations with people that don't have years of emotional baggage!
6. Why did you go into teaching?
It wasn't my plan to go into teaching, but I'm very happy that I did. I had always wanted to do kid's books. When I graduated from art school, I knew how to draw, but I knew nothing about kids or publishing. When I took a job teaching in Tribeca I thought of it as a golden opportunity to get to know my audience and work on my craft simultaneously. I always thought of that teaching job as really fun field research.
7.What did you want to grow up to be?
I always only had one answer: artist! I can't say that I honestly knew what that entailed when I was little. But I'm pretty sure that it meant you got just play around all day with messy stuff....and that meant I was definitely on board.
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Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review purposes. Regardless, all opinions are my own. I was not required to leave a positive review. This blog is not responsible for prize fulfillment.