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Do Not Open Paperback – June 21, 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4–9—This entertaining look at oddities, mysteries, and unexplained phenomena successfully adapts the innovative format first seen in Pick Me Up (DK, 2006). Nearly 100 topics are covered, mostly on spreads, each with a unique look. "Who Are the Men in Black?" uses a captioned street map to present facts and theories (Nazca Lines, Bermuda Triangle, Atlantis), for example, while cases of "Spontaneous Combustion" appear on illustrations of burning paper. Occasional foldouts, liftable flaps, and vertical page turns add more variety. Beyond the strong visual appeal, many layouts convey information effectively, such as the color-coded flow chart that tracks the mysterious disappearance of "Lord Lucan." Individual entries can stand alone, but cross-references at the bottom of the page encourage jumps to related topics in a manner that simulates Web page links. "Hidden Gold," for instance, can lead to "Paris Underground," "Kremlin," and further exploration. With rare exceptions, cross-reference series are not circular, so starting at a random page sets off a long series of intriguing leaps. The index provides access to specific topics, though broader subjects applying to several entries, such as "crime" or "spying," do not appear. Most libraries will discard the clever cardboard packaging that simulates a silver jail cell, but the overflowing collage of images on the regular cover works fine. The exciting design, cleverly organized information, and perennial kid-appeal of the topics should make this a popular title, and it may easily lead readers to pursue other books on topics that catch their interest.—Steven Engelfried, Multnomah County Library, OR
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


". . . a colorful book filled with unexplained mysteries, bizarre anecdotes through the ages, great escapes, codes, optical illusions, hoaxes, and explanations of secret systems and complexes." -- Boingboing.net<br /><br />"Do Not Open comes peeking out from between the bars of its own little prison door and will. . . make children immediately ignore the warning of its title. . . This is a good bet for pre-(and full) teens." -- The Wall Street Journal, December 2007<br /><br />Awarded by the Voice of Youth Advocates organization --VOYA Nonfiction Honor List, 2008

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 17 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 12
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: DK Publishing (May 17, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0756662931
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756662936
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.7 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #932,295 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jennifer L. Burch on November 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A compilation of weird and wonderful trivia illustrated with what must be thousands of fun and whimsical images, this outstanding book is a great bathroom read. Each subject is covered with a just a paragraph or two, and there are so many topics! Randomly flipping open the pages I find info about Mark Felt's secret identity as Watergate's Deep Throat, the Rosetta Stone, spontaneous combustion, Elvis' secret identity as "Jon Burrows," the secrets behind common magic tricks, "Top Tips for Breaking The Time Barrier", the tribes of the rain forest... I could go on forever.

Usually books like this seem thrown together, with out-of-date info and cheap graphics. This one is just the opposite. What I especially like is the variety of art. The credits page lists 12 illustrators; it seems like about a hundred.

By the way, the book doesn't look like the image shown above. That's its reflective silver storage box. The book cover, which you see peeking out behind the bars, is a colorful collage of the various art inside. True to the spirit of the book's title, the box has a magnetic hinge, which makes it difficult to open.

It has a companion title, Pick Me Up.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My daughter enjoys reading interesting facts and trivia, so I ordered this book as a Christmas present after reading such good reviews for it here. However, unlike the other reviewers, I was disappointed when the book arrived. I found this book a little too 'dark' - serial criminals, grisly crimes and murders, spooky places, mysterious hauntings and happenings. A little TOO macabre for my taste; and it'll definitely give my daughter the hibbie-jibbies.

I also question what's in this book; are these authenticated facts, or do they tend to lean toward the 'urban legend' version (just to make it spookier)?

Lastly, some of the print in this book rivals the finest fine print in the best legal documents. You might be advised to order a magnifying glass to go with it. I've returned the book to amazon.
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By Grammy on January 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Do Not Open We purchased this book for our two male grandchildren, one is 15 and the other is 8 years of age. They both enjoy the book tremdenously, and I was told it gets dragged all over the house and constantly being used. They challenge each other with information from the book. I am very happy with this selection and wish there were other books like this one to make the kids leave the video games and sit down and read a book and use their imagination.
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Format: Hardcover
Do Not Open is an oversized, shiny full-color encyclopedia of the world's best-kept secrets. Dorling Kindersley (now just DK Publishing as a division of Penguin Group USA) made their mark with copiously illustrated hardbound texts on a variety of non-fiction subjects, and Do Not Open is a cornucopia of illustrations, diagrams, photographs, charts, maps, and more. It's got terrifically legible fine print and they manage to pack more than 250 pages into its slim profile, while retaining the famous DK page sheen and durability.

Do Not Open is a book meant to be read in hops, skips, and jumps, so the author includes "How to Use" instructions at the beginning. Readers are encouraged to open to a page and then use the "want to know more?" text at the bottom to explore related subjects. A chart on the "How to Use" page spread shows how one could get from the first page of the book to the last in six easy hops - but every reader's journal will be personal. "In time, you can probably work your way through the whole book!"

I highly recommend Do Not Open as a gift book for children ages 8 - 12. I wish I was a child again, so I could hole up in my room with this delightful treasure and then maybe even teach my parents some new facts.
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