February 26, 2020 • Cee • Reviews

Don’t Check Out This Book! by Kate Klise & M. Sarah Klise • March 10, 2019 •  Algonquin Young Readers
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Is the sweet town of Appleton ripe for scandal?

Consider the facts:

  • Appleton Elementary School has a new librarian named Rita B. Danjerous. (Say it fast.)
  • Principal Noah Memree barely remembers hiring her.
  • Ten-year-old Reid Durr is staying up way too late reading a book from Ms. Danjerous’s controversial “green dot” collection.
  • The new school board president has mandated a student dress code that includes white gloves and bow ties available only at her shop.

Sound strange? Fret not. Appleton’s fifth-grade sleuths are following the money, embracing the punny, and determined to the get to the funniest, most rotten core of their town’s juiciest scandal. Don’t miss this seedy saga!


I received this book for free from Algonquin Young Readers for review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

First sentence: Welcome to Appleton, Illinois. Home of the GIant Red Apples. Population: 800 713 620 479 198 83

The sweet town of Appleton has been thrown off its apple crate by a new librarian by the name of Rita B. Danjerous! Rita has quickly become a beloved member of the community bringing amazing books to the students at Appleton’s Elementary School, yet despised by Ivana Beprawpa, the new school board president, for going against the “manners and morals” she desperately want to bring back.

How does this clash of personalities and priorities affect this sweet as apple pie town?

It tells the story mainly through emails, letters, and newspaper articles. One of my favorite things is when books tell the story through different formats. Don’t Check Out This Book! does exactly that with newspaper articles, and emails and letters written between characters to convey the absurdity of the different characters and of what’s been going on. You read about Rita’s excitement for books; Ivana telling Principal Noah Memree to do something about Rita and her daughter not following the rules; articles about fundraisers and dress codes; memos for Ivana to pay her bank loan; and so on. These different formats form a fun experience of reading these happenings.

It’s absurdly fun and full of puns. It’s very much tongue-in-cheek fun with the way it plays with names and the things that happen. Lots of apple related puns. You have street names like “Apple Fritter” and “Apple Pie”; characters named May B Danjerous and Penny Counter; and tag lines like The Daily Apple newspaper’s “Bringing you all the juicy news, even when it’s rotten to the core.” It plays up these names, and I don’t know how else to describe it aside from how delighted it made me feel. It’s a book that doesn’t take it seriously, and yet, it conveys so many good messages about reading books and staying active in the community.

Everybody loves books. This book is filled with people who are curious about books, who become enraptured by a book’s content even though a certain school councilwoman deems it dangerous, who love books. You, the reader, will love this too.

Should you read Don’t Check Out This Book? Every book reader should read this weird yet fun book.


One Response to “REVIEW • Appleton Full of Puns and Fun! (Don’t Check Out This Book! by Kate Klise & M. Sarah Klise)”

  1. This sounds like a really fun book and written for all book readers!

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