Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

I Hate to Read!

I Hate to Read!

Rita Marshall
Illustrator:  Etienne Delessert 
Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
The Creative Company, 1993   ISBN: 978-1568460055

For the most part Victor Dickens is a pretty good boy. He does not fuss when his mother fixes him up for the class pictures and in most of his school subjects he gets very acceptable grades. There is one problem though – Victor hates to read. No matter what his family does, Victor refuses to read.

Then one evening, when Victor is pretending to read, he gets several very unusual visitors. First a crocodile crawls out of the pages of one of his books. Then a mouse pops out. She tells Victor that he will find “gold in this book.” The mouse is followed by a pirate parrot, a rabbit in boots, and a frog who desperately asks Victor to read the page so that he (the frog) can be turned into a prince. Remorselessly Victor refuses to accept that reading can be fun, exciting, and worthwhile. Determinedly he rejects his visitors and continues to insist that he hates to read.

It is only when he thinks about what it would be like to live in a world without stories that Victor begins to think that perhaps reading is not so bad. After all he could not help liking the funny story book characters he met earlier and it would be shame if they were all to disappear.

In this unique picture book reluctant readers are invited to consider what it would be like to live in a story-less world where books did not exist. Within the pages they will meet some colorful storybook characters and they may find themselves realizing that Sleeping Beauty, pirates, enchanted frogs, talking rabbits and others are so much a part of our lives that it would indeed be a shame to loose them.