Say Zoop

Herve Tullet – Chronicle Books


I thought I’d do a quick review of this fabulous book aimed at encouraging a love of reading in teeny tiny people. If we start reading and sharing books with children when they’re young, it can encourage a lifelong love of literature.

What is the book about?

This book is slightly unusual, as there is no story. Instead, “SAY ZOOP” by Herve Tullet uses simple shapes and primary colours, along with a smattering of text for an adult to read to create an interactive game.

It starts simply, introducing the first ‘character’, with the instruction “put your finger on this dot and say OH!” The subsequent pages see OH growing, shrinking, shivering, bouncing and even swimming, all the while asking the reader to say “oh” in a suitable voice.

Then his friend, a red dot called “ah” is introduced, and the two have lots of fun talking, playing, making music and using robot voices. As you move through the book, more characters are introduced and the crazier the activities become until the final page asks the child to come up with some sounds of their very own.

How would I “use” this book?

It may be a strange question to ask, but this is a book to be enjoyed, but also to be used or experienced in a slightly different way to traditional picture books. Some parents have criticised this it for being unsuitable as a bed time story, and I agree that this is not a book that will calm your little one ready for sleep. Instead, I’ve been playing in the day with my little boy. He’s only six months old so a bit little for understanding but the bright colours are fun, and he loves me making the sound effects. When we’ve used it with kids at the Zone, it certainly ramps up the excitement, and that’s where its strengths lie.

If a book can get kids excited about looking at a page, and translating a static image into a noise, then the book is doing its job. Whilst describing our activity with the book, I’ve said we ‘play’ rather than read, as that is how it feels. This is a book for exploring how images and sound relate to one another, about using your voice and body to represent what you can see. It forces the adult to engage with the silliness and act a little daft, something that all kids love to see.

How will it help my child?

From a literacy standpoint, reading is all about translating images from the page into words or actions. Letters are simply shapes that we have attributed certain sounds to. This book is a wonderful precursor to reading and a great way to spend some quality time with a small person.

If I have one criticism of this book, it’s a little on the long side for very young readers. My preference with books is to stop reading before they lose interest, to avoid any association with books and the dreaded “boring” word. However, it is fine to stop reading at an appropriate point and come back to the rest another time.

If you’ve read this book, or any you love as much as we love this one, let us know in the comments!

Get it here!


Please note, I have not received any payment or free goods in exchange for this review. The link above is for your convenience and I do not receive any reward, financial or otherwise, if you use it.


©Carys Thurlby, Worcester Learning Zone, 2017