When someone says “Don’t do this,” a natural impulse for many is to ‘do it’! And of course, this book is sure to be the one that will get checked out from libraries often now, not only because of its title but also because it is simply that good! The Book: Don’t Check Out This Book by Kate and Sarah Klise; The Impact: You will be sure to keep checking this book out (so having it on your home bookshelf will make it easier!)
This book is written in a style I truly enjoy reading. An epistolary novel is a novel written as a series of documents. The usual form is letters, although diary entries, newspaper clippings and other documents are sometimes used. The word epistolary is derived through Latin from the Greek word epistolē, meaning a letter.
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Don’t Check Out This Book
Book Info: Don’t Check Out This Book
Thank you to NetGalley and Algonquin Young Readers for the eARC of the book; and thanks again to Algonquin Young Readers for inviting me on this blog tour for ‘Don’t Check Out This Book.’
From the creators of the award-winning Three-Ring Rascals and 43 Old Cemetery Road series!
Is the sweet town of Appleton ripe for scandal?
Consider the facts: Appleton Elementary School has a new librarian named Rita B. Danjerous. (Say it fast.) Principal Noah Memree barely remembers hiring her. Ten-year-old Reid Durr is staying up way too late reading a book from Ms. Danjerous’s controversial “green dot” collection. The new school board president has mandated a student dress code that includes white gloves and bow ties available only at her shop.
Sound strange? Fret not. Appleton’s fifth-grade sleuths are following the money, embracing the punny, and determined to the get to the funniest, most rotten core of their town’s juiciest scandal. Don’t miss this seedy saga!
Set in the town of Appleton, pop. 83, this is the delightful tale of the Danjerous gals, and is told through emails, memos, newspaper articles, notes, texts, and more. Rita B. Danjerous and her daughter May B Danjerous (note that May’s middle name is simply B) are the newest residents of Appleton.
And the book has it all:
Every character’s name (as well as the names of places and even the taglines each place uses) is wordplay perfection! Like Cy Durr, who owns an apple orchard, or his son Reid Durr, who soon becomes the library’s biggest borrower, or Reid’s friend, Ben Thinkin. And then we have Ivana Beprawpa – who coats all she does (the mean and the nasty) with a covering of ‘properness.’ One of my favorite characters was Gladys Friday, the school secretary.
Before I continue with the review, I want to include one tagline – this is the one of the First Bank of Appleton – Because Money Doesn’t Go On Trees. I can keep going with the puns and the wordplay sprinkled generously and cleverly all over the book, but I will stop here since it is not just about puns.
And Everything Else
Rita is the new school librarian at Appleton; and they have not had a library for 14 years now. Rita is excited about introducing the kids and adults at Appleton to books (all books, even the ones that we are often told ‘not to read’). And she does so with gusto – using her own collection of books(since the school has none), a broom closet for the library itself, and an old apple barrow to use as a bookmobile!
Her “green dot collection,” includes books that the kids can borrow without using their library card. This is for all those books they always wanted to read, but had not (told not to, shyness, embarrassment, etc). Of course, the kids love this, but the parents – they don’t. While we don’t know the exact books in the green dot collection, everything strongly hints to any number of banned books as well as books with answers to questions kids are too embarrassed to ask others.
I could easily picture all those readers in this book; reading late into the night, using torch lights after bedtime, locking their office doors with Do Not Disturb signs, or well – being me!
All of this late night reading and ‘green dot’ books soon leads to a campaign to fire Rita. The campaign is led by Ivana who is determined to have her say (no matter how foolish or outrageous) and her way (so she can use her power as school president to well, profit).
Will Ivana get her wish, or the powers that be (Dewey A. Proove of the Illinois Board of Education being one of them along with Noah Memree, the forgetful school principal) will choose a different route? Read the book to find out!
Some Last Thoughts
I loved how the book manages to touch upon topics of censorship, standing up against bullies, about banned books, money laundering, investigative journalism, entrepreneurship, newspaper reporting, politics and corruption, finance management, helping friends in need, and about the love of reading what you want! It does so in ways totally not-preachy(love when that happens), perfect for the audience and keeps the reader engaged and LOL throughout! And of course, I loved, loved, loved the wordplay!!!
Last but not least, Sarah Klise’s illustrations add to and complement the storytelling delightfully making this book a must-have and a must-read.
From the very first pun(oops, word) to that last one, or actually, from the title itself and the beautiful dedication to the heartfelt acknowledgements, this book is totally wor(d)th it. Read every word and this book is so much fun that you will be done before you realize it! Everyone will love the good wins eventually message, the hilarious puns and wordplay, and be encouraged to read more.
Simply put – Check Out This Delightful Book, Now!!! (or Don’t – for those who will because I say don’t!)
About the Author and Illustrator
Kate Klise is the award-winning author of more than 30 books for young readers, many of which are illustrated by her sister, M. Sarah Klise. On her way to becoming an author, Kate Klise worked as a babysitter, waitress, ice-skating instructor, and rosebush pruner. She was also a journalist and spent 15 years reporting for People magazine. When she’s not working on a new book, she enjoys traveling around the country, sharing her best writing tips and tricks with aspiring authors of all ages.
M. Sarah Klise has always had a fondness for creating colorful book reports, which began in elementary school with yarn-bound volumes on states and countries. In college, she enjoyed writing heavily illustrated letters home to her mother. Years later, she still does variations of all that when she illustrates books for young readers. She also teaches art classes in Berkley, CA.
And Now, The End of This Post
Dear reader, have you checked out this book? Or any other similar book? Or has there any book that you checked out because someone told you not to read it? Do let me know… What about books written in this style – epistolary?
Here are some other epistolary reads I loved (maybe you have read them too). I know I have read many more in this style, but these are the first ones I recalled.
- Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl
- Six Goodbyes We Never Said by Candace Ganger
- Tweet Cute by Emma Lord (partially!)