I love interactive picture books that beg readers to be part of the story. They make you feel like the story couldn’t work without you. Do Not Open This Book written by Andy Lee (one half of Australian comedy duo Hamish and Andy) and illustrated by Heath McKenzie is a brilliant new example of this type of picture book and it’s guaranteed to make kids laugh-out-loud.
Do Not Open This Book begins with a strange little blue creature who is surprised that you’ve opened the book, especially since there was a warning on the front cover. He asks the reader not to turn the page, but this is exactly what you want to do. As the book goes on, he becomes more and more desperate, begging, pleading, threatening and sulking, before he finally reveals that if the reader reaches the final page, something terrible will happen.
I absolutely love Do Not Open This Book! It is one of those books that is incredibly fun to read aloud and it never gets old or boring, no matter how many times you read it. I’ve read this book aloud many, many times to the kids at my school, from new entrants through to the Year 6 kids, and they all love it. I have kids queuing up to take this book home and I’m sure they would all be quite happy if I read it to them every time they came to the library. Even though I love reading it to kids it’s even better when I hear some of the senior kids reading it aloud to each other.
The best thing about Do Not Open This Book is the perfect combination of the text and illustrations. The story would be funny without illustrations but Heath McKenzie’s illustrations just add so much more humour to the story. Heath’s character (which looks like a blue egg with long arms and legs) has a very expressive face. The look of horror on the character’s face when you do turn the page (even though he told you not to) or his face going purple because he is so exasperated that you keep turning the page just makes kids crack up laughing. I have to stop myself from cracking up too every time I read it.
Do Not Open This Book is going to get read to death in my library and it is a must-have for your school or home. You will be begging your kids to let you read this book to them.