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I was intrigued by The Monster at the End of This Book (recent redux on Twitterrecent redux on Twitter) for much longer than I should have been as a child – there was something about Grover talking directly to me, telling me not to do things, that made me simultaneously want to obey him and disobey him. It is exactly this instinct that Andy Lee and Heath McKenzie harness so well in Do Not Open this Book.
The tone of the book is absolutely perfect. My 6-year-old actually read it to me aloud for my first experience of the book, and he got it immediately and enjoyed watching the monster get more and more frustrated as the pages are turned. He then read it to his 4-year-old brother, who likewise was fascinated as the monster got angrier and “He turned red!”
All of the possible reasons for not turning the next page are explored thoroughly, giving the book a good level of language diversity. We go through straight wheedling based on personal trust, through to threats, lies, back to playing on friendship, the silent treatment, then this outburst:
Arghhhhh!!! You turned again!!!
Even after I gave you the silent treatment.
Right, I’m going to tell your parents exactly what you are doing unless you put this book down straight away. I mean it.
Please don’t turn the page!
As a long-time fan of Paul Beavis’s Mrs Mo’s Monster (as well as of Grover) I can’t say that this guy’s my favourite monster, but he is definitely now in my top three, for pure fun. Highly recommended for the Christmas present pile for the 3 – 8 age group. Possibly older, if your kid is anything like I was.
On a side note, kudos to Pat & Kevin Chapman for bulking up their kids’ list, I’m really enjoying seeing the new talent coming through – this is comedian Andy Lee’s first kids’ book, but I suspect it won’t be his last.
Reviewed by Sarah Forster
Do Not Open this Book
by Andy Lee, illustrated by Heath McKenzie
Published by Upstart Press