Don't Read This Book! by Jill Lewis and Deborah Allwright

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Don't Read This Book! by Jill Lewis and Deborah Allwright

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath
Reviewed by Keith Dudhnath
Summary: A brilliant twist on traditional story books, with the King wanting a story, but his story writer not having completed it yet. All the time, there's someone (you!) reading the incomplete book. Great fun. As highly recommended as they come. Jill Lewis was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: February 2009
Publisher: Egmont Books
ISBN: 978-1405236416

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The King wants a story right now, but his official story writer doesn't have one for him. They try to piece one together from the writer's notes, whilst the King gets more and more impatient. As this is going on, they're aware that someone is watching them, reading what they've got so far. STOP RIGHT THERE! Don't read any more. I've not finished what I'm writing. Don't read this review...

I had lots of ideas for what I was going to say in this review, but I haven't pulled them all together yet. I was debating with myself whether to use the phrase 'romantic irony', or whether it would be clearer (but slightly less accurate) to call it breaking the fourth wall. I was also wondering whether it would even be appropriate to use either term in a review of a book for young children. After I'd briefly outlined the plot, that would have been the thrust of my explanatory paragraph.

I'd then have gone on to say how much fun Don't Read This Book! is, because it breaks all the rules and conventions. I'd rummage through my limited mental thesaurus and pick words like 'fresh' and 'exciting', hoping that I hadn't used them in another review recently. I'd want to say it oozes charm, as I always do, but I know I overuse that phrase, so I'd probably leave it out. I might make reference to the equally excellent Traction Man, which has a similar level of playfulness, and would be a shortcut to mentioning this book's charm, without actually having to use the word 'charm'.

By this point, I'd have said the most important things I wanted to say, and I'd be coasting to the end of the review, without wanting it to appear like that's what I was doing. I'd change direction slightly by talking about the illustrations, but I'd refer back to Traction Man to make the review flow a bit better. The references to Traction Man would be about how the words are dotted all over the page, drawing the reader in and making them pore over everything. (I'd try not to worry about saying "pore over" in yet another review). I'd also mention how Don't Read This Book creates the perfect impression of being an incomplete book, with the pages awash with scribbled notes and graph paper. I'd probably dig out another synonym for 'fun'.

Hopefully, the thrust of my review would be clear by now, and it'd be a case of of tidying up the loose ends then telling everyone to buy it. I'd be thinking whether it was too late to mention that the young readers would need to be of a certain age or intelligence to truly get the joke. If I said that, I'd then have to trip over myself to make it clear it wasn't too complicated. The simplest way would be to refer to another book, saying it was at a similar level to The Jolly Postman by Janet Ahlberg and Allan Ahlberg - although Bookbag doesn't have a review of that, hopefully it's famous enough for people to know the level I mean.

Once I get to this point in a review, it pretty much writes itself: I tell everyone to buy Don't Read This Book! because it's super, I thank the publishers for sending it to Bookbag, and I pick out a couple of similar books that people might like. I'd probably also be glad that I resisted the urge to mention The Princess Bride, because although it breaks the fourth wall too, it's aimed at adults, rather than children. So what other books would I recommend fans of Don't Read This Book! also read? DogFish was fantastic and had a slight surreal twist, so that'd be a good one. Does a Sea Cow Say Moo? also seems to have a silly vein to it, although I might give it a second thought as Magda's mentioned a clunky rhyme, which is my current bugbear in children's books.

So, that's how I'd review Don't Read This Book!, but I haven't really got the review ready yet, so please don't read this review.

Bookinterviews.jpg You also shouldn't read Bookbag's interview with Jill Lewis.

Booklists.jpg Don't Read This Book! by Jill Lewis and Deborah Allwright is in the Top Ten Quirky Kids' Books.
Buy Don't Read This Book! by Jill Lewis and Deborah Allwright at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Don't Read This Book! by Jill Lewis and Deborah Allwright at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Don't Read This Book! by Jill Lewis and Deborah Allwright at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Don't Read This Book! by Jill Lewis and Deborah Allwright at Amazon.com.


Buy Don't Read This Book! by Jill Lewis and Deborah Allwright at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Don't Read This Book! by Jill Lewis and Deborah Allwright at Amazon.com.


NO! You can't read more reviews, because you shouldn't have read this review.

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