Do Not Open This Book by Michaela Muntean (Hardcover)

PW 1/9/06 Starred
Reverse psychology drives this voice-bubble monologue, whose curmudgeonly narrator-a pink pig in a purple stocking cap-implores readersnot to turn the pages. He appears on the inside flap, sniping, "Excuse me, but did you read the front cover of this book- Are you always so rude-" Next, readers interrupt him in his woodshop, where ladders, pylons and boxes of "dangerous words" and "nouns" suggest a work in progress. "The reason you weren't supposed to open this book is because it is not yet written," he frowns, as disorganized scraps flutter about, each labeled with a single word like instant-poetry refrigerator magnets. The pig sneakily gets revenge by wondering, "What's your name-" and begging for participation in a fill-in-the-blanks rubric ("There once was a giant pest named _____.... It did not matter how many times _____ was asked togo away, _____ would not go"). Muntean makes sure he protests too much, daring readers to press their luck, and Lemaitre (the Who's Got Game- series) provides the author with tiny sidekicks-a round brown spider and violet-blue fly-who mimic his gestures and imply that he's harmless. Like Mo Willems's Pigeon books, this makes an excellent read-aloud, with abundant opportunities for hammy acting. Ages 4-8.(Mar.)

Kirkus
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)

Booklist
K-Gr. 3. In this playful send-up of the writing process, the illusion of trespassing boundaries is a big part of the fun. Recriminations ("Are you always so rude?") begin on the endpapers and continue as children penetrate deeper into what a pig character identifies as his own, in-progress book. Turning the pages appears to wreak havoc on the narrative within, as words shake loose; form new, unintended sentences; and enrage the frustrated auteur-until he discovers that the unwanted intrusions have, in the circular fashion so beloved of postmodernism, created the very story he had struggled to produce. Along with hand lettering Muntean's text, LeMaitre contributes bright, comics-style pictures that clarify the occasionally dizzying concepts (the words of the story-within-the-story, for instance, are represented on individual placards, making the constant reconfigurations easy to follow). Similarities to titles such as James Stevenson's Don't Make Me Laugh (2003) are obvious, but children will be no less enraptured by the irreverent, interactive premise and will emerge with a fresh understanding of the powerful (sometimes wayward) qualities of words. -Jennifer Mattson

BCCB
Like Mo Willems' Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus (BCCB 5/03), this title hinges on a prohibition, but there's a twist to this one: if you obey it, you miss the story. The book is primed for likely disobedience, however, and it reproves the refract

Number of Pages: 40
Genre: Juvenile Fiction
Sub-Genre: Humorous Stories
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Age Range: 4-8 years
Author: Michaela Muntean
Language: English

Do Not Open This Book  by Michaela Muntean (Hardcover)

About Do Not Open This Book by Michaela Muntean (Hardcover)

PW 1/9/06 Starred
Reverse psychology drives this voice-bubble monologue, whose curmudgeonly narrator-a pink pig in a purple stocking cap-implores readersnot to turn the pages. He appears on the inside flap, sniping, "Excuse me, but did you read the front cover of this book- Are you always so rude-" Next, readers interrupt him in his woodshop, where ladders, pylons and boxes of "dangerous words" and "nouns" suggest a work in progress. "The reason you weren't supposed to open this book is because it is not yet written," he frowns, as disorganized scraps flutter about, each labeled with a single word like instant-poetry refrigerator magnets. The pig sneakily gets revenge by wondering, "What's your name-" and begging for participation in a fill-in-the-blanks rubric ("There once was a giant pest named _____.... It did not matter how many times _____ was asked togo away, _____ would not go"). Muntean makes sure he protests too much, daring readers to press their luck, and Lemaitre (the Who's Got Game- series) provides the author with tiny sidekicks-a round brown spider and violet-blue fly-who mimic his gestures and imply that he's harmless. Like Mo Willems's Pigeon books, this makes an excellent read-aloud, with abundant opportunities for hammy acting. Ages 4-8.(Mar.)

Kirkus
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)

Booklist
K-Gr. 3. In this playful send-up of the writing process, the illusion of trespassing boundaries is a big part of the fun. Recriminations ("Are you always so rude?") begin on the endpapers and continue as children penetrate deeper into what a pig character identifies as his own, in-progress book. Turning the pages appears to wreak havoc on the narrative within, as words shake loose; form new, unintended sentences; and enrage the frustrated auteur-until he discovers that the unwanted intrusions have, in the circular fashion so beloved of postmodernism, created the very story he had struggled to produce. Along with hand lettering Muntean's text, LeMaitre contributes bright, comics-style pictures that clarify the occasionally dizzying concepts (the words of the story-within-the-story, for instance, are represented on individual placards, making the constant reconfigurations easy to follow). Similarities to titles such as James Stevenson's Don't Make Me Laugh (2003) are obvious, but children will be no less enraptured by the irreverent, interactive premise and will emerge with a fresh understanding of the powerful (sometimes wayward) qualities of words. -Jennifer Mattson

BCCB
Like Mo Willems' Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus (BCCB 5/03), this title hinges on a prohibition, but there's a twist to this one: if you obey it, you miss the story. The book is primed for likely disobedience, however, and it reproves the refract

Number of Pages: 40
Genre: Juvenile Fiction
Sub-Genre: Humorous Stories
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Age Range: 4-8 years
Author: Michaela Muntean
Language: English

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