I Will Not Read This Book

Cece Meng, Author, Joy Ang, Illustrator
Cece Meng, illus. by Joy Ang. Clarion, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-547-04971-7
Open Ebook - 32 pages - 978-0-547-67744-6
Ebook - 32 pages - 978-0-547-75714-8
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Reluctant readers are the target audience for this cri de coeur, narrated in hyperbolic fashion by a slender, pajama-clad boy. Meng (Tough Chicks) depicts the boy postponing his bedtime reading, admitting "sometimes there are words I don't know" and underscoring his resolve with a set of escalating perils: "I will not read this book even if you hang me upside down by one toe over a cliff while tickling my feet." Comics creator Ang pictures the boy dangling from a rope, a giddy blue monkey tickling away. As the boy piles on the torments (he would rather be "in a rainstorm with lightning above and sharks down below"), the monkey's demeanor shifts from gleeful to cranky to fearful. When the rope finally gives way, the boy's patient mother catches him, in a tranquil bedroom decorated with a toy monkey and shark. The book's accumulative format is tailor-made for readers who share the boy's trepidation about reading (the built-in repetition is ideal for confidence building). Without stating the obvious—the book gets read—Meng and Ang build silly suspense and wind down to a quiet resolution. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)
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