I Don’t Want to Read This Book by Max Greenfield, illustrated by Mike Lowery

I Don’t Want to Read This Book by Max Greenfield, illustrated by Mike Lowery.  G.P. Putnam’s Sons, Penguin Random House, 2021. 9780593326060

Rating:  1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

Format: Hardcover picture book

What did you like about the book?  Billing itself as “the book for kids who don’t like to read books,” this comic tour de force takes a harsh but hilarious look at just how “ridiculous” reading is.  An unseen narrator finds something to complain about in every aspect of the book, from the existence of words like ‘infinitesimal’ to the annoyed feeling of having wasted time that could have been spent eating cake and/or watching YouTube.  The narrator’s irritation ramps up throughout the book, venting about paragraphs and chapters, and the predictability of what is found on the last page.  The joke, of course, is that the book IS being read, and not only that, the narrator is teaching the reader some pretty important concepts about language arts and the structure of books.

With handwritten text of various styles, sizes, and colors, doodles and shapes accentuating some of the strongest words, and comic sketches to illustrate the most salient points, the book resembles a young person’s journal or sketchbook.  Some of the wordplay and big vocabulary, as well as much of the humor, is definitely more suited toward an older (upper elementary) audience.  Nevertheless it will be appealing for all types of readers at most elementary ages; a fun read aloud that students will also want to look at on their own.

Anything you did not like about the book? No

To whom would you recommend this book? A great new choice for those students who check out The Book With No Pictures ad infinitum, sure to be a hit for teachers and librarians to read at the start of the school year when talking about reading choices and stamina.

Who should buy this book? 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: January 28, 2022

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