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DO NOT OPEN THIS BOOK! by Michaela Muntean


by Michaela Muntean & illustrated by Pascal Lemaitre

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: March 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-439-69839-1
Publisher: Scholastic

A determined pig scolds readers for interfering with the creative process as he labors to write a story. “You think it’s easy to put words together? Hah! Now go away! I need time to think,” he grouses from an upside-down yoga position. As readers persist in turning the pages, he gets crosser and crosser, finally writing a story about a giant pest and inviting readers to fill in the blanks with their own names. Lemaitre’s illustrations set a cartoony pig in an implied workshop filled with boxes of adverbs, nouns and “salty words,” among others. As a picture of the imagination at work, it’s a busy one, glue pots and rakes sharing space with bulldozers, as the author needs them. As a conceit, however, it strains somewhat to maintain interest over the course of 32 pages, Muntean’s pig’s sudden reconciliation to the reader-turned-character a little abrupt and inconsistent with the appealing grouchiness that’s gone before. There are other stories about writing and reading stories—Allan Ahlberg’s Half a Pig (2004) and James Stevenson’s No Laughing, No Smiling, No Giggling (2004) come to mind—that have a little more substance to sustain the fun. (Picture book. 5-9)