Book of the Week: Warning: Do Not Open This Book

October 21, 2013

Warning: Do Not Open This Book by Adam Lehrhaupt and Matthew Forsythe

Images and text by Carter.

Go ahead. Judge this book by its cover. And you’ll probably ignore the signs, and the chains, and the warning tape. That’s okay, because you’ll have some opportunities to back out once you start reading. After all, you don’t want to let the monkeys out. That’s the invitation and promise of Warning: Do Not Open This Book!

How utterly irresistible that the mayhem caused by a troop of monkeys is on your hands! You can control the chaos, but I’ll bet your curiosity gets in the way. And how could it not? The monkeys paint their own mess, which makes for vivid and thrilling pictures. Turning those pages triggers the madness, and closing the book is the only way to contain the catastrophe.

This book is a ton of fun. It’s reminiscent of a huge favorite from my childhood — do you remember The Monster at the End of This Book? Good old Grover was adamant that you not turn the pages of that book, for fear of a furry monster at the end. Which, as we know, turns out to be Grover himself. But every single time, reading that book was an adventure and a thrill. This modern trend of metafiction has clearly been around since the classics. But still – it’s such smart storytelling, and honors the wit and sophistication of young readers. Books that have an awareness of their book-ish-ness inherently are clever in their execution and celebrate story in such a remarkable way.

P.S. — Do you have other metafiction favorites? I’m a huge fan of Chloe and the Lion, The Three Pigs, and Open This Little Book. And since I’m a massive Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett fan, I’m especially looking forward to their latest collaboration, Battle Bunny.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Connie October 21, 2013 at 7:11 am

I sure do remember The Monster At the End of this Book! Oh, That was classic. My heart soars when I see it on a child’s bookshelf. I’m jotting this one down to get my nieces for Christmas.

Have you ever read “The Day the Crayons Quit” by Drew Daywalt? It’s so funny. I just heard it for the first time a couple weeks ago while visiting my brother in law’s family. It might be a good one to review here…


2 Carter Higgins October 22, 2013 at 4:42 pm

I love that page with the chains! So funny.

And yes! Drew Daywalt is actually a friend of mine, can you believe it?! He’s on my list, so stay tuned!


3 janae @ bring joy October 21, 2013 at 8:13 am

I love interactive books, & my kids do too. Two of their favorites are The Monster at the End of this Book, & Don’t let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, by Mo Williams. It’s so fun for the kids to interact with the characters. They think it’s a riot.


4 Carter Higgins October 22, 2013 at 4:43 pm

Oh, that Pigeon. He IS a riot!


5 Emily October 21, 2013 at 8:15 am

The Monster at the End of this Book was always a huge favorite of the kids in my preschool classes, and one of my favorites as well! Cannot wait to check out this updated version!


6 Carter Higgins October 22, 2013 at 4:44 pm

You’ll love it!


7 Kendra October 21, 2013 at 8:18 am

My kids loved “Monster Munchies” by Laura Numeroff for that same thrill at the ending (“better close this book up tight before they chew on you!”), and “The Incredible Book Eating Boy” by Oliver Jeffers catches that metafiction feeling with the bite marks on the back cover.


8 Carter Higgins October 22, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Oh, yes! I forgot about that Oliver Jeffers – those bite marks are brilliant!


9 Tasha October 21, 2013 at 8:43 am

I have to get this for my niece and nephew! I saved the “Jolly Postman” series my son loved so much and have those for his children one day. I recall having a car trip and gave him the second of the series since the first was worn out…he enjoyed every detail! Each page has something to open up and read/do/look for…fun!


10 Carter Higgins October 22, 2013 at 4:52 pm

Thanks for reminding me about the Jolly Postman! I bought The Jolly Pocket Postman – in college. Destined to be a picture book girl as a young adult!


11 Anna October 21, 2013 at 9:59 am

This sounds like a good one. I suppose “Harold and the Purple Crayon” is actually metafiction too. Our son’s favorite interactive book is Herve Tullet’s “Press Here.”


12 Carter Higgins October 22, 2013 at 4:53 pm

If you liked Harold and the Purple Crayon, you’ll LOVE Journey by Aaron Becker! (And yes to Press Here! Brilliant!)


13 Teresa October 22, 2013 at 12:40 am

we just discovered the Elephant and Piggie series by Mo Willems. So great!


14 Jess Lawson October 22, 2013 at 5:45 am

This looks like a super fun one~ thanks for sharing!


15 megwrites October 22, 2013 at 11:05 am

This looks like so much fun!
I second the recommendation for The Jolly Postman by Janet and Allan Ahlberg–one of my and my kids’ favorites. It’s about a postman delivering letters in a sort fairy tale/mother goose land, and each letter is included in an envelope on the page. Not sure if it qualifies as metafiction, but its definitely interactive!


16 Carter Higgins October 22, 2013 at 4:53 pm

Yes, I had forgotten about those! I love books that slow us down and ask us to study all of their teensy intricacies.


17 Amy October 23, 2013 at 12:47 pm

We Are in a Book! by Mo Willems. The best broken fourth wall ever.


18 Karen Smullen October 29, 2013 at 7:57 am

The Monster At The End of This Book was a huge favorite with my boys and now my grandaughter has become a fan, squealing with laughter! … amazing what a picture book can do, a great use of a the medium.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: