This Is Not a Book
Keri Smith
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This Is Not a Book
Keri Smith
Perigee Trade
224 pages
September 2009
rated 4 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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By the time you finish with This is Not a Book, it may look like a well-used journal, a bulky photo album, an organized scrapbook, or a combination of all three. You are to mark it up with whatever writing instruments you want, and fill it up with whatever experiences you have after you open the cover.

On every page, author Keri Smith gives you a task. For example, on page fifteen, she writes “This is an annoyance. Do several things to this page to make it annoying (e.g., make it sticky, write an insult, etc.)” Another page starts with “This is a disappearance. 1. Draw or write something here. 2. Erase it somehow (e.g., pencil & eraser, water-soluble ink, sand paper)”. Her tasks are diverse and short in explanation, but they all push you to think, create or experience. The pages can be read in any order or done more than once.

Adults, teens, and even some children ten and up could easily do the tasks inside. Hand-lettered and numbered, many tasks appear with a black-and-white photograph, a doodle, a drawing, or some kind of background meant to prompt a reaction. There is a tree to carve a message on, shelves to fill with lost things, and an empty wishing well to fill with wishes and coin.

By the time all the tasks are completed in This is Not a Book, some pages will be missing or cut. The cover and pages may not be in good shape anymore, depending on what you choose to do on page ninety-nine. Created with heavy paper, This is Not a Book is nothing without you.

Author and illustrator Keri Smith is the author of several books, including Wreck this Journal. She spends her time in New York and Canada and blogs at Wish Jar.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Tanya Boudreau, 2009

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