There is only one rule: Don’t push the button.
Larry is a rounded purple monster, similar to McDonald’s Grimace but with horns. He stands alone on the page, next to a single red button across the gutter. Red buttons almost always signal danger, but an unmarked button is also impossible to resist. Larry tells readers to not push the button. He comes in closer and growls, “Seriously. Don’t even THINK about it.” But then Larry experiences some inner turmoil. That button does look awfully tempting….He whispers in a conspiratorial tone, “Psst! No one is looking. You should give the button one little push.” With the turn of the page, Larry has turned yellow! Thus begins a familiar romp in which readers are given directions, and poor Larry gains spots and then multiplies into many other monsters. The urgency, desperation and dire pleas contradict a child’s natural curiosity (and perhaps the ever-tempting urge to do what is forbidden). Have we seen this shtick before? Yes. Has it been done in a more engaging, creative way? Yes. (See Press Here, by Hervé Tullet, 2011). But will kids care? No. They will still laugh.
At least the red button doesn’t initiate the self-destruct sequence—though many more stories of this ilk may cause a market implosion. (Picture book. 2-6)