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Review: Open This Little Book by Jesse Klausmeier

Open This Little Book
By Jesse Klausmeier
Illustrated by Suzy Lee

Chronicle Books

ISBN: 9780811867832
Grades PreK-2
In Stores

Find it at:
Schuler Books | Your Library

Some books, you just have to see. When a title like the inventive Open This Little Book arrives, a description alone doesn’t do it much justice. But one of the most striking things about this book is that while the format is unique, the concept and theme – colors and the joy of reading – are as straightforward and time-honored as they come. This is a book will please the two major children’s lit camps. Kids will dig the crazy format and repetition, while the gatekeepers will smile along at the ending. We’re in win-win territory, folks.

Really, the title tells you all you need to know. After opening the cover and flipping past the copyright page, a smaller, purple title page repeats the refrain. Opening the purple book reveals a smaller red book. There’s a ladybug inside, who invites the reader to open an even smaller green book about a frog. The story continues in this manner, decreasing in size, until a giant arrives and throws the whole operation for a loop. The animals help the giant, and are able to end the book with an exhortation to “open another!”

The best way to get a sense of Open This Little Book is to watch the trailer:

One concern with this type of book is re-readability. It’s important that the book still intrigues even after the novelty has worn off. It’s tricky to consider here, as the format and story are so intertwined that it’s impossible to think of one without the other. This is not like a pop-up book, where often times the paper engineering stands apart from the text on the page. This I know – as the pages decrease in size, readers will be further drawn in. I think kids will want to go back into this world.

Suzy Lee is something else. After this book, I’m putting her in the David Ezra Stein zone of Illustrators Who Like to Switch it Up. If it didn’t say Suzy Lee in big letters on the front, I wouldn’t have initially guessed it was her. In Open This Little Book, Lee moves away from the monochromatic, spare, inky style of Wave and Shadow into more intricate and colorful territory. It’s a risk to present a different style, but here a necessary one – this book is all about color and close inspection.

This is a book that a lot of kids are going to love. Make sure you have it on hand.

Review copy from the publisher.

Read the Watch. Connect. Read. interview with Jesse Klausmeier.

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. Love this one! I think that it works better as a lap book, but Mr. Schu Reads says that he has successfully shared it with several classes. Hmmm?

    • Travis Jonker says:

      I’m totally with you Ed! This book is perfect for one on one or individual reading. Now I’m looking at last line of the review again and it seems a bit misleading. I meant it as “lots of people are going to like this book” but I think it comes off as “this is an awesome read-aloud”. I think I’ll change that, as it could work in that setting, but it isn’t where the book will shine.