Mix It Up
Mix It Up is not just a book - it's an invitation to exercise imagination!
It's author, Herve Tullet, is an artist with a particular passion for inspiring children to interact, imagine, visualise and create.
In Mix It Up the book begins with a single grey fingerprint and an instruction to tap it. The child follows the direction and when the page is turned the grey print is accompanied by multicoloured spots! Each page contains more instructions (to tap, rub, mix and so forth) and each time the action is performed the page is turned to reveal another change!
The pages of Mix It Up exercise imagination while also introducing real concepts, like mixing primary colours to make secondary colours.
When a child has finished Mix It Up it is likely that he or she will feel energised and inspired to engage with real art materials!
Most Montessori early childhood books focus on 'reality' and Mix It Up obviously requires a little bit of a deviation from reality in order to 'pretend' the changes are happening based on the reader's actions. It still, however, remains within the realms of possibility rather than becoming pure fantasy and so I feel it is appropriate even in the early childhood years. This is especially true because the book makes no attempt to 'trick' the child - he or she can easily turn the pages back and forth to see that the illustrations remain as they are regardless of whether the action is performed. This means that the child is in on the joke rather than being confused or misled by the adult. This is an important distinction and helps to ensure that the book is received happily and joyfully!
Mix It Up seems particularly relevant in a world where children really are accustomed to seeing their fingertips as powerful. Think of how many children you see tapping and swiping away on an iPhone or iPad! Mix It Up capitalises on this interest but shifts the focus from digital automation to personal imagination. The child 'taps' the page but the reaction requires a little bit of pretend and a little bit of humour.
If you like Mix It Up then you might also enjoy Herve Tullet's Press Here.