Do Not Go in There by Ariel Horn, illustrated by Izzy Burton. Imprint, 2020. 9781250189493
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3
Genre: Picture book
What did you like about the book? Bogart and Morton are two cute monsters who are good friends but very different. Bogart is furry and purple, has wings, and is very nervous. Morton looks like a yellow rabbit with polka dots and a lizard tail, and is really excited and adventurous. They come upon a closed red door, and can’t agree on whether to open it or not. Bogart emphatically implores his friend not to go in, but Morton wants to touch the shiny gold doorknob and find out what’s behind the door. Bogart is sure there will be a wolf, but Morton thinks it will be a party with a robot band. Their deliberations get more and more elaborate; the contrasting predictions culminate with Bogart’s scary wolf and its evil twin building a spaceship that has caught fire, and the ever- optimistic Morton suggesting that “we can make s’mores!!!” In the end, we are left to wonder if Morton’s giddy cheerfulness finally wins out.
A celebration of friendship which recognizes that imagination works for both sides of the optimism/pessimism coin. Bogart lets his worry get the best of him and imagines the scariest things, while Morton persists in assuming the best and in turning Bogart’s boggarts into something magical. These two creatures are absolutely adorable, and their vividly colored imaginary scenarios are pretty cute too. This story will be a fun one to share, and read aloud with a partner, as the text primarily consists of the Bogart and Morton’s alternating guesses. Conversations about being scared and taking chances are bound to ensue.
Anything you did not like about the book? It is not easy to discern which monster is Bogart and which is Morton. Sophisticated readers will figure out that hopeful Morton’s words are in red, and worried Bogart’s in blue (and these colors don’t really match up with the creatures’ colors, which might have been helpful), but it might take a while to realize it, and kids will want to know.
To whom would you recommend this book? A good choice for teachers and students in preschool through grade 1, whether just for fun or when trying to help build confidence or solve friendship disputes (as it points to the idea that you can disagree with your friend and still come out okay).
Who should buy this book? Preschools, public and elementary school libraries
Where would you shelve it? Picture books
Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? no
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Leigh Russell King, Lincoln Street School, Northborough, Massachusetts.
Date of review: 9/24/2020