Posted in Early Reader, Fiction, Preschool Reads

Do Not Open the Box: A Picture Book Guessing Game!

box_coverDo Not Open the Box, by Timothy Young (Dec. 2015, Schiffer Books), $16.99, ISBN: 9780764350436

Recommended for ages 3-6

A little boy named Benny sees a box with a sign taped to it that says, “DO NOT OPEN”. Well, that just sends Benny’s imagination into overdrive: what could be in the box? Could it be something cool, like the robot he’s wanted? Or could it be something scary, like a monster? Maybe his sister put something in there to scare him!

The cartoony artwork is printed against a background made to look like corrugated cardboard, making the story look like it’s been written and drawn on a cardboard box. Sentences are simple and short, written in a rounded font and in blue to stand out against the brown cardboard background. Each spread has Benny wondering what could be in the box, and a rendering of his imagination. Kids will have loads of fun with this book: especially with the end reveal.

Bring out your own box for storytime, and have kids guess what could be in it! They can draw what they think, or they can call it out, but it’ll get their minds working and they’ll learn more about how guessing can lead us to the answers, if you provide hints and information as you go along. I could hide a teddy bear in a box and tell the kids that something furry is in the box; using trial and error, they can figure it out.

I read this book with my 3 year-old, and he loved it. He had a fun time guessing what was really going to be in the box, because nothing was too outlandish for us! “Could there be an OCTOPUS in the box? How about a REAL DINOSAUR?” Have fun with a read-aloud!




Timothy Young also wrote The Angry Little Puffin, which is an adorable book that G-man (my little guy) LOVES. Now that I’m remembering that, I need to order that for my library, too; that’s a great storytime book, and so is Do Not Open the Box. Give your readers’ imaginations a workout and add this one to your collection.


I'm a mom, a children's librarian, bibliophile, and obsessive knitter. I'm a pop culture junkie and a proud nerd, and favorite reads usually fall into Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I review comics and graphic novels at WhatchaReading ( I'm also the co-founder of On Wednesdays We Wear Capes (, where I discuss pop culture and geek fandom from a female point of view.

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