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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Clever Book Is Fun for Kids

Do Not Open the Box!
Written and illustrated by Timothy Young
Schiffer Publishing, 2016
Grade level: Preschool to 1

A little boy spots a big cardboard box with a note taped to it: “Do Not Open.” The boy, who is the narrator, struggles with his conscience. He knows he isn’t supposed to open the box, but he is so curious. He thinks about all the things that might be inside the box. First he considers, a boring thing: Dad’s papers. Then he considers good things: cookies, a robot or puppies. Finally, he imagines bad things: snakes, a wolverine, a slimy monster. He even guesses this might be one of his sister Annie’s tricks. At last, he decides not to open the box and walks away. The surprise ending is when Annie pops out of the box saying, “Huh? I can’t believe Benny didn’t open the box.”

The title of the book is reminiscent of such titles as “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!” by Mo Willems, “Warning: Do Not Open this Book!” written by Adam Lehrhaupt and illustrated by Matthew Forsythe, and “Don’t Push the Button!” by Bill Cotter. It shares some of the same appeal to children’s temptations to break rules. But this book doesn’t speak directly to the reader like these other books do. It has a more traditional format.

“Do Not Open the Box!” is a fun for youngsters. They’ll be able to identify with Benny’s dilemma. They’ll also be amused at the end of the story. Perhaps they also have siblings who like to play tricks on them.

About the Author and Illustrator:

Timothy Young has had a lot of jobs; he’s been an animator; puppet maker; toy designer; sculptor; art director; illustrator; and graphic designer.  He has designed for “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse,” “The Muppets,” “Disney,” “The Simpsons,” and Universal Studios. Now he is the author/illustrator of six picture books including “I Hate Picture Books!” and “The Angry Little Puffin.” He lives with his family on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Find out more about him and his books at

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