cover image Do Not Open This Book!

Do Not Open This Book!

Michaela Muntean, , illus. by Pascal Lemaitre. . Scholastic, $16.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-439-69839-9

Reverse psychology drives this voice-bubble monologue, whose curmudgeonly narrator—a pink pig in a purple stocking cap—implores readers not 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 to go 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.)