Children’s Book Week continues with a picture book from one of my favorite author/illustrators.
Do Not Open the Box!
Written and Illustrated by Timothy Young
Schiffer Publishing 1/29/2016
32 pages Ages 0—6
“DO NOT OPEN THE BOX!
“Benny spots a big cardboard box with a note taped to it saying, “Do Not Open.” His imagination runs wild, and it’s almost too much for a curious boy to bear. He thinks about all of the things, good and bad, that could be inside that box. A birthday robot? A wolverine? An entrance to another world? What should he do? This endearingly illustrated tale of a classic childhood dilemma has a surprise ending and offers a peek into a young boy’s mind as he weighs tantalizing possibilities against the risks of breaking the rules.” [back cover]
A young boy named Benny walks into a room containing a big cardboard box. On the box is a note states,
“DO NOT OPEN.”
Benny wants to open the box but, it states, “DO NOT OPEN,” so he decides it is better not to touch the box. This does not stop his imagination from going wild over what is in the big, tantalizing box. He thinks it could be papers for his dad’s work or maybe cookies his mom made. As he thinks of each possibility, Benny also images the objects flying out of the box. Dad’s papers remain piled high as they fly out of the box, throwing the top towards the back. Benny visualizes mom’s delicious cookies popping out of the box, shooting the top upwards. Benny holds a cookie in each hand and sits next to a glass of milk.
Benny’s thoughts and imagination continue to take over as he stares at the box with its halting note. Wonderful objects and horrendous items pop into Benny’s mind. As the imagined items fly, pop, crawl, and climb out of the box, Benny either enjoys the contents or runs from it. A box full of puppies is fun, as one pup licks Benny’s check. But a box crammed with snakes makes Benny back off as fast as possible. In the end, Benny needs to decide if he should ignore the “DO NOT OPEN” sign and look inside, or obey it’s directive and walk away. What happens next will surprise you.
Do Not Open the Box immediately screams out, “This is a Timothy Young book!” Young has an unmistakable style that includes round-faced kids with expressive eyes and a goofy sense of humor I love. Young’s books are fun and humorous, sure to be fan favorites. Do Not Open the Box will be the same. Young must have never truly grown-up as he has the young Benny down perfectly. The objects Benny imagines are very boy-oriented. I love the twist, at the end. Often Young’s endings are unpredictable and Do Not Open the Box is no exception.
I would love to write a spoiler and tell you how the book ends, but I won’t. Young children, especially boys, will love Do Not Open the Box. The illustrations add volumes to the story. Each object Benny imagines comes to life. Like an explosion, most objects burst out of the box, throwing the top a distance away. The only time this does not happen is when the box is finally opened, its contents finally seen.
Young children will love Do Not Open the Box! Young comically illustrates a common childhood situation. It might not always be as large as the “big cardboard box,” but whatever a child has been told, be it “leave it alone,” “do not open,” “do not touch,” or simply “do not look,” the effect remains the same. Kids will wonder what in the box—or pan, cupboard, draw, letter—is so important, so adult oriented, that the child is not allowed to see it. Curiosity runs rampant in young children—and many adults. Young has humorously captured a child’s curiosity in Do Not Open the Box!
DO NOT OPEN THE BOX! Text and illustrations copyright © 2016 by Timothy Young. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Schiffer Publishing, Atglen, PA.
Find Do Not Open the Box! on Goodreads HERE.
DO NOT OPEN THE BOX! Illustrations © 2016 by Timothy Young. Used by permission of Schiffer Publishing.
Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
Full Disclosure: Do Not Open the Box! by Timothy Young, and received from Schiffer Publishing, is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”