Don’t Tell | Book Review

Don't Tell by Tom Booth -- Cover Art

Title: Don’t Tell
Author: Tom Booth
Illustrator: Tom Booth
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
ISBN: 978 125011 7373
Age Range: 3-6 Years Old

Publisher’s Synopsis

Once again Tom Booth, author of Don’t Blink!, breaks the fourth wall to delight and entice readers young and old in this sweet and funny, experiential picture book.

How did you find this book? Don’t you know this book is a secret book?

Readers will delight in being asked how they found this book. Did Monkey tell? Was it Owl? Giraffe?

Maybe the animal who “told” would rather share than keep a secret. Especially when sharing a book as good as this one makes him so happy!

Don’t Tell | Snuggleosophy Review



My favorite part about Don’t Tell is the artwork. Tom Booth brings a plethora of animals onto the scene. The artwork is modern, but still feels down to earth and hand drawn.

While none of the characters have many lines to say, each is drawn in a way that is expressive. You can tell that each of the animals, even without saying anything, has their own personality and attitude. You see grumpiness, surprise, happiness, and worry in the animals’ faces among other emotions. This provides a depth to the artwork that many other books seem to lack. I also like that Booth decided to keep the background neutral, allowing the focus to remain on the characters and the conversation.

The colors are muted and realistic, which I think makes Don’t Tell a perfect book for right before bed. I personally don’t like pulling out books with loud colors for bedtime. This is a perfect book to spend time on each page, pointing out the details to my daughter as she gets ready to fall asleep.



What I gleaned from reading Don’t Tell is this: If you’re excited about a secret, it isn’t that bad to tell people.

I feel like I want to like the message, but a part of me holds back. I think that the message could promote gossip. Letting kids know that if they accidentally spill a “good” secret (a birthday present, for example), it isn’t a big deal, for me, is not an issue. However, I think the job falls to the parents to help explain that while telling a secret isn’t something to worry too much about, depending on the secret, it could also hurt people’s feelings and isn’t something that we should intentionally do.

In addition to this, I think that Don’t Tell could be a springboard for discussing “good” and “bad” secrets with children. I feel that helping children define what constitutes a “good” secret and a “bad” secret is an incredibly important task for a parent.

“The secret in this book was OK to tell, why is that? Why should we keep any secret at all? When is a secret not to be kept?”

These are just a few of the questions that I would personally discuss with my daughter after reading this book.



I like the writing style of Don’t Tell. It is conversational and breaks the fourth wall, speaking directly to the reader. This is great for getting children involved and interested in what is written. It isn’t formal by any means, and the language is simple, but Booth uses full sentences and thoughts to communicate with the reader of the story. This helps stimulate childrens’ language development.

Don’t Tell is fun to read out loud. The conversational tone makes the pages flow, and there are many characters for whom you can create voices!

I do feel like there was an opportunity missed, however. While the characters are beautifully drawn and expressive, none of them have many lines. You can see that Booth took the time to make each character distinct and seemingly have different personalities. However, the characters’ responses are generic and repetitive. I don’t believe that the book needed much more exposition or more advanced language. However, I do think that Booth could have been more inspired by the characters he created and given them more creative and personalized dialogue.

Would I Recommend this Book?

Yes, I personally would recommend Don’t Tell. It is beautifully drawn and easy to read out loud. I think that the message in the book, while not complete in itself, can spark an important conversation to have with children regarding secrets. I think that talking to children about secrets and why we keep them, which ones we should and shouldn’t keep, and when it is OK to tell is extremely important. Don’t Tell is a fun way to get that conversation with your kids started.

Let us know if you have read Don’t Tell and what you think about it in the comments below!

Disclaimer: I was provided a free copy of this book for the purpose of this review, but the thoughts and opinions above are 100% my own.

I also want to say that while the opinions are my own, the above article contains links from the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon. 


Caitlin is the managing director of Snuggleosophy and the mother of 1-1/2 year old Amanda. She has lived as an expat in Santiago, Chile for the past 7 years and speaks English and Spanish fluently. She loves to promote reading for children starting from birth as well as multilingual and multicultural parenting. For her day job, she is a pricing and transportation analyst for international freight.

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