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Don't Make Me Laugh    by James Stevenson order for
Don't Make Me Laugh
by James Stevenson
Order:  USA  Can
Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2003 (1999)
Hardcover, Softcover
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

An alligator look-a-like named Mr. Frimdimpny spells out the rules for reading this goofy, giggly picture book, illustrated in typically whimsical Stevenson style. He tells us not to laugh or smile - if we do, we have to go back to the beginning of the book, and he's watching us. Yikes!

Two small bears watch each other try not to smile, with the inevitable result. Next comes a doggy 'Pierre, the excellent waiter' with a ticklish spot marked X ... 'Don't touch the X!' Of course we do and see what happens. Then there's elephantine Fendently with a 'terrible cold'; breathing makes him sneeze so don't do it ... we do of course. And you really don't want to know what happens to the hippo when you hum in the 'fancy glass store', do you?

Rules often seem silly to kids, and adults often break them themselves just as Mr. Frimdimpny finally does in Don't Make Me Laugh. This picture book is a great choice to act out with kids at storytime - but never at naptime or bedtime - and good luck in trying to keep a straight face!

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