Top positive review
25 people found this helpful
Please open "Do Not Open"
on November 7, 2007
Do Not Open by John Farndon
DK's Eyewitness books have always been a favorite of mine. With their illustration rich pages and text sprinkled throughout like museum exhibit copy they offer an innovative way to learn. Rather than read a book straight through the user can jump around exploring the pictures and captions which catch his or her eye. In this way these books are very much like a visit to a museum.
This simple trick is something new to most school age children. Having always been required to read all of something, they delight in the chance to enjoy reading in a different way.
"Do Not Open" takes the DK style to a new level. The illustrations are so diverse and packed in they begin to feel frantic. This visual frenzy draws the reader in and forces him/her to want to read more and more. Illustration styles cover the gambit, from cartoons to photos to fine line drawing to comic book styles to collages. Page to page the style changes. This breakneck pace is only increased by the text. Unlike previous DK books I have enjoyed "Do Not Open" doesn't have large blocks of set text. Much of the reading floats around the pages in small quick spurts of information. Individual sets of pages can be read in seconds. Also, unlike previous DK books this book's theme is the diversity of the odd and quirky of the world. So, each page set is its own topic. Each time the reader turns a page they are reading something completely unrelated to what went before. However, at the bottom of each page set the reader is given pages to jump to in order to read about something related in so way shape or form. These page connections are very much like links on an Internet page and they allow a reader to "surf' this book. With these page "links" a reader can actually begin reading on any page and allow what attracts them to guide their book experience. Very innovative design work will make this book appeal to our digital generation who have never known a world without the web.
The content is also unique. In some ways it reminded me of the old "Ripley's Believe It or Not" books. It ranges from art to history and science to spies. A great deal of ground is covered and loads of interesting trivia is revealed.
I can only suggest one improvement if the book is revised in the future. I would have liked to have had suggested further readings. These suggestions could be web sites, books, or both, but I often found myself wanting to know more about the topics and the book didn't give me anywhere else to go to fill this hunger. That's a pretty minor issue but still one I would hope would be resolved in the future.
All in all this is a great book and will appeal to young readers between 9 and 14 and possibly even older. It certainly appealed to this reader and I haven't seen those ages in quite a long time.