Stop Reading This Book!
Stop Reading This Book!
ONCE UPON A ...
YOU? NOT YOU!
IT IS MY DUTY TO PROTECT THE PAGES OF
THIS BOOK FROM TROUBLEMAKERS LIKE YOU.
STOP READING THIS BOOK.
IS SOMEONE HELPING YOU READ THIS BOOK? ASK
THEM TO STOP RIGHT NOW, PLEASE AND THANK YOU.
THINK OF ALL THE OTHER THINGS YOU COULD BE
DOING RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE INSTEAD OF READING.
COUNTING PENCILS, LINING UP SHOES, FOLDING UNDERWEAR.
THANK YOU FOR CLOSING –
We’ve all likely heard of reluctant readers, but a book that is reluctant at being read!? Well, that’s the case in Stop Reading This Book! as the book repeatedly attempts to get you to abandon reading it. The above excerpt is the text from the book’s opening two pages. As the book opens with the familiar story introduction, it recognizes its reader, you, as being a former troublemaker, and so it begins its efforts at dissuading you from continuing. You, of course, don’t, and so the book threatens you, a villain, with meeting heroes in its pages, the book’s logic being:
HEROES ARE BRAVE AND SMART. AND YOU?
WELL, YOU’RE THE OPPOSITE OF A HERO
When the appearance of heroes doesn’t work, and after providing you with guidance on how to turn the pages back to the beginning “and pretend you didn’t start reading”, the book tries other approaches. In the event you are being read-to by someone, the book even addresses that individual.
Dear person who is helping to
read this book,
This book is not
When the book posits the idea that your continued reading may be because you find the text too easy, it increases the reading difficulty level via a number of tongue twisters that are visually abetted by O’Toole’s art. The book continues its efforts to cause you to abandon it, including fear, a challenge and a maze. Because you still do not stop, the book is forced into making a reassessment:
YOU’RE NOT A TROUBLEMAKER AFTER ALL.
I GUESS YOU CAN’T JUDGE A READER BY THEIR COVER!
Despite the book’s finally accepting you as its reader, it seemingly cannot prevent itself from still telling you not to read the closing list of 20 vocabulary words.
A fun example of the use of reverse psychology to achieve a desired goal, Stop Reading This Book! will be grabbed up by reluctant and eager readers alike. Though the book is illustrated with O’Toole’s comic style illustrations, the humour resides in Fernandez’s delightful text and the book’s imaginative design which incorporates various font sizes and reader directions. A worthy addition to home, school and public libraries.
Dave Jenkinson, CM’s editor, lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba.