Monday, March 31, 2008

Do Not Open by John Farndon

Do Not Open: An Encyclopedia of the World's Best Kept Secrets

Reading level: Ages 9-12
Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: DK CHILDREN (November 7, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0756632056
ISBN-13: 978-0756632052

It's Nonfiction Monday, and today I'm featuring a book I absolutely love!

Parents, if you’re struggling to find books that interest your reluctant readers, I think I’ve found THE PERFECT BOOK for you! I won a copy of Do Not Open: An Encyclopedia fo the World's Best Kept Secrets by John Farndon from Breeni Books over the winter holidays, and I can’t even begin to tell you the numerous times I’ve picked this up and read pieces of it since.

Do Not Open comes in its own silver vault that begs readers to open it, and the book itself is chock full of fascinating facts from ships and aircraft that have disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle to the eerie similarities between Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy.

The book is divided into eight sections:

  • Unexplained
  • Unthinkable
  • Freaky Facts
  • Unknowable
  • Spine-Chilling
  • Spooky
  • Strange Coincidences
  • Classified

Each section features colorful two-to-four page spreads that examine mysteries, hoaxes, optical illusions, bizarre facts, and more. Many spreads are interactive and feature flaps or pull out pages.

My personal favorites include:

  • “Magic Tricks Revealed:” This four-page feature shows how three of the most famous magic tricks are performed: pulling a rabbit out of a hat, sawing a lady in half, and disappearing into thin air
  • “The Code That Trapped Mary Queen of Scots:” This two-page spread tells the story of the trap that was set, using coded letters, to catch Mary plotting against Queen Elizabeth
  • “Conspiracy Theories:” This four-page feature discusses some of the most well-known conspiracy theories, including the theory that the US staged the 1969 moon landing in the Nevada desert, the rumor that Marilyn Monroe was murdered, and that Mozart was poisoned.

Readers can choose to read the book from front to back or flip through and read what interests them—a great choice for kids who may not like to read long stories. I tend to open it up and read whatever comes to me. In addition, there is such a variety of stories that anyone who picks it up will find something that interests them.

This book would make a perfect gift for kids of all ages!!!

Visit the rest of the Nonfiction Monday roundup at Picture Book of the Day.


  1. I am so glad you like it! It's a favorite in our house, as well!

  2. I can think of several kids off the top of my head that would love this book. Thanks for the review!

  3. Sabrina,
    Thanks again for the book!

    I'm glad you have kids in mind who would love Do Not Open. It's definitely one that many kids will enjoy and read over and over again.

  4. Oooh, this one looks great! We've got it on order at my library and I can't wait to see it when it comes in! Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  5. Abby,
    Be sure to savor this book before it starts flying off your's wonderful!

  6. Okay, I'll let you in on a secret, whether you want to know it or not. I'm a bathroom reader. This looks like a fun bathroom book!

  7. Natasha,
    Hilarious, and your assumption is makes an excellent bathroom book!