This is only my second time here, but feels so good to be doing Perfect Picture Book Fridays after weeks! Head over to Susanna Hill‘s blog for this super-fun friday iniitiative that brings the best of picture books together at one place! For an exhaustive list of all picture books reviewed, click here.
Author: Michaela Muntean
Illustrator: Pascal Lemaitre
Publisher: Scholastic PressNew York
Genre: Picture Book
Age group: 4 years and up
Click here to have a look at the inside pages on Amazon.
Theme: Involve the reader in the process of writing and creating the story for the very book that she is holding in her hands!
Opening Sentence: Excuse me, but who do you think you are, opening this book when the cover clearly says DO NOT OPEN THIS BOOK!? If a sign on a door reads DO NOT ENTER, do you enter?
Synopsis: From Amazon: In the spirit of the bestselling classics DON’T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE BUS! and THE MONSTER AT THE END OF THIS BOOK comes a riotously funny, interactive picture book from a hot new team.
“Excuse me, but who do you think you are, opening this book when the cover clearly says, DO NOT OPEN THIS BOOK? The reason you weren’t supposed to open this book is because it is not yet written!…You think it’s easy to put words together? Hah! Now go away–I need time to think.”
So begins Pig’s valiant attempt to pen his masterpiece. But he is constantly interrupted by the reader who is seduced at every turn into foiling his efforts (“please go away” “please do not turn the page”)–until at last we reach the final page & discover that together, Pig & the reader have indeed created a book.
Why I like this book: This is the funniest book I have come across about creating something brilliant out of nothing at all! The book is a tribute to the mind’s bustling creative potential and its readiness to be open to ideas flowing in from just about ANYWHERE.
The book is very interactive, as in, it makes the reader so much a part of the reading (and eventually, as it turns out, the book creating) process that it keeps her engaged without blinking! Here’s the pig who’s trying every bit to ensure that the reader doesn’t turn the page, and there’s the pesty reader disregarding all of it to march on steady ploughing through the pages! And each time the reader does that, something terrible happens to the pig and the words and his story. Until, the pig comes up with a clever plan…!
The illustrations are rib-tickling, to say the least. The text and the illustrations complement each other so well without stepping into each other’s zone and yet blending so perfectly and effortlessly that it’s difficult to believe that it’s not the same person doing both! I love the elaborate construction site that Pascal Lemaitre has created out of a writing desk with prominent ‘CAUTION-Thinking in Progress’ and ‘BEWARE! Writing in Progress’ standees littering the place!
And just when you thought you’d had enough of a laugh while reading the book, plop comes the back cover of the book that reads, “Excuse me, but did you read the front cover of this book? Are you always this rude? I said DO NOT OPEN THIS BOOK! – Don’t even think about opening it this way, either 🙂
The humour does feel a little stretched towards the end, but that still doesn’t rob the story of its fun.
This book can be a good starting point for initiating a discussion on how words and ideas come together to create a story. Or how those same words can get blown away from our minds if not put to paper immediately.
Another fun exercise could be you and your child playing Pig and the Reader. So the Pig can start with some thought while the Reader keeps interrupting. Would be fun to see where the initial thought ends!
Here’s another activity I found on the Scholastic website: Lesson Plans.
Happy goofing around 🙂