Sunday, March 10, 2019


Written by Adam Lehrhaupt

Illustrated by Matthew Forsythe

(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2013)

This is a favorite book of mine for reading aloud. I begin by reading the title and heeding the warning. I don’t open it. I put it aside. My audience gets confused and restless as I pretend to consider another book to read.

They beg me to go back. I say, “Fine.” I reread the title and say, “I’m so sorry, but I just can’t. The thing comes with a warning.”

They beg again. Louder. More insistent.

Okay,” I say. “You asked for it.”

The inside cover artwork is a collection of signs. It’s worth stopping and reading them.

Oh, no.

Come on...seriously?

This book is super-dangerous.

Here is the last guy who read this book. [Arrow points to a skull.]

By now, a few are a tad scared but everyone is curious. The last sign on the page says, “Don’t turn the page” and I suggest we comply. I attempt to put the book aside again. A chant begins. “Turn the page! Turn the page!”

It happens every time.

After the title page, comes a danger sign with the head of a monkey. Maybe you should put this book back. You don’t want to let the monkeys out.

Monkeys!” I say. “This could get messy.”

They chant again. “Turn the page! Turn the page!”

This goes on, of course, until the monkeys appear.

We’d been warned.

Toucans, too.

And an alligator!

Yes, yes. We were warned.

Now we have to get everything under control again before we can close the book.

It’s pure mischievous fun.

Warning: This is not a book to read if you want a calm, quiet room. This is not a sleepy-eyed bedtime read. It’ll wake everyone up. Better than coffee. (Did I really just say that?!) Yes, yes. So true.

My favorite experience with this book came a few years ago as one boy declared it the best book ever. He’d regularly come to the principal’s office at lunchtime and beg me to read the book again. Then he began reading it on his own. He was a struggling reader but his fluency and expression improved through his repeated readings. I’d suggest he read it quietly so as not to alarm my stuffed animals. Of course, he read it louder and with even more expression. Then he asked if he could invite his friends to eat lunch in my office. He provided the entertainment with a well-performed reading of the book. He oozed with pride. He was both monkey tamer and accomplished reader.

There is a follow-up, Please, Open This Book! Same author, same illustrator. It picks up right where this book left off. By waiting a few weeks to introduce it, the kids jog their memories about all the goofiness of the first book. I reread it—how could I not!—before diving into the sequel.

This book brings huge smiles to the faces in the audience. It’s pure joy, a vivid, positive memory about a loud reading experience.

Find it. Be daring. Open it!

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