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Don't Look At It! Don't Touch It!

Don't Look At It! Don't Touch It!

United States of America
Children's literature
Troll Communications
Publication date
32 pages

Don't Look At It! Don't Touch It! is a 1996 American children's book written by Steve Patschke, illustrated by Julie Durrell, and published by the company Troll Communications.


The story centers around four young children name Sara, Sammy, Jenny, and Pete, and (according to the illustrations) an accompanying dog, during the holiday of Halloween. At the beginning of the book, they found a mysterious box reading "Don't look at it, don't touch it, don't open it!" in red capital letters, although, being naïve children, decided to open the box anyway. Inside of the box, they found a mysterious key which carried a message that read "Don't take four steps, don't turn right, don't follow the twisting trail!" So, they did the opposite of what the message said, and as they went down the trail they encountered a "spooky old house". The front door of the house was painted with a message reading "Don't walk up to it, don't unlock it, don't go inside!" So, again, they did exactly what the message told them not to do.

As they continued to wander through the house, this system continued throughout the rest of the story, and additionally, Sammy, Jenny, and Pete each disappeared one occasion after another until Sara was adventuring alone. When the last of her friends had disappeared, Sara came across a door painted with a message reading "Don't do it, don't do it, don't dare open this door!" So she opened the door and peeked through it, and to her surprise, she found all of her friends, including Sammy, Jenny, and Pete, throwing a surprise Halloween party for Sara.


Steve Patschke was inspired to write the book while reading a part of another children's book in which a mother said to her child "Don't look at it! Don't touch it!" in response to her child being "bit by a bee". It suddenly came to him that the phrase could very well fit into a spooky children's book. In an interview, he said that the publishers of the book were very nice and that the illustrator, Julie Durrell, went through with a great majority of his suggestions. He also mentioned that the book took him about 20 minutes to write after the idea struck him in comparison to another book that he wrote, The Spooky Book, which took him two years to write, and that the overall reason he wrote the book, as he is not only an author but is also an elementary school librarian, was that children at his school wanted more spooky books in their school library. [1]


One reviewer said that the book was "full of suspense, and silly giggles, and play-acting, and all sorts of fun." [2] Another reviewer said that "the illustrations are colorful and help her children tell the story." [3] There are several reviews that have similar positivity to these, but overall, most reviewers have given the book a very high rating, especially admiring its plot and/or its illustrations.



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