Book Review: Open Very Carefully – A Book with Bite, by Nicola O’Byrne and Nick Bromley

This book is available nationwide.

cv_open_very_carefullyI will admit that I didn’t realise that this book was meant to be a take-over of the story of The Ugly Duckling the first time I read it. The duckling does tend to take a back seat once the crocodile comes on the scene…

Open Very Carefully is about a crocodile who invades the pages of a favourite fairytale. He tries all sorts of tricks to stay in the pages – hiding under the edges of pages, behind pulled-out drawings and suddenly, emerging, ready to cause havoc. The book is written to the child, so as you read you are suggesting courses of action as each page turns.

Five-year-old Dan immediately got the connection between this book and the Hervé Tullet book Press Here, and enjoyed following the instructions throughout the book. He rocked the crocodile to sleep, drew a tutu on him, and laughed as he threw the tutu off and tried to escape the book, only to meet with the edge.

This book would have been enhanced with better use of the ‘ugly duckling’ as a character. As it is, he doesn’t have any agency on anything that happens in the book. If the writers wanted to be like Tullet, stick with the fun instructions, and forget the fairytale takeover that only the most eagle-eyed of children will understand.

For all that, Dan really enjoyed the book, and so, I’m sure, will most people in the 3-6 age bracket. A good interplay between words and picutres, some playful typographic stylings and a really neat font raise it up above the melee of average children’s books. Oh, and I loved the fact the illustrator was acknowledged first on the front of the book – a nice change.

Reviewed by Sarah Forster

Open Very Carefully – A Book with Bite!
by Nicola O’Byrne, words by Nick Bromley
Published by Nosy Crow
ISBN 978057630476

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