Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
Look! Book Poster Image
Two words tell whole story in fun take on joy of reading.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Shows how meaning and emotion change, depending on how you say a word or phrase. Shows that reading is fun and can grab your attention, even when there are only pictures.

Positive Messages

Books are fun. Reading together is fun. You can get mad at your friend but then make up and maybe even see his or her point.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The gorilla is enthusiastic, persistent, loves books and reading. The little boy gets angry, but finally understands what the gorilla was trying to show him: that books have a lot to offer. He welcomes the gorilla back and invites him to read together. 

Violence & Scariness

A couple of funny, cartoonish falls and crashes, one of which breaks the TV.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Jeff Mack's Look! is a charming picture book that celebrates the joy of reading -- and reading together -- in a story that uses only two words: "look" and "out." As in Mack's Ah Ha!, this book shows how the context and intonation of a word or two can change the meaning. There are a couple of funny, cartoonish falls and crashes, along with lighthearted encouragement to turn off the TV and try a book instead, as well as a sweet message of enduring friendship despite occasional conflict. 

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What's the story?

A gorilla tries to get a little boy's attention while he's watching TV by pointing to the book on his head. "Look," he says repeatedly. But the boy pushes him away, saying, "Look out." The gorilla keeps trying, even standing on a tower of books and consequently bumping into the TV. "Look out!" the boy shouts. A book lands on the boy's head, amusing the gorilla, who smiles, points, and says, "Look." Then the boy kicks him "out." The gorilla comes back and doesn't give up, and an argument ensues, causing the gorilla to leave with a tear in his eye. After he's gone, the boy finally picks up one of the books and gets hooked. The gorilla returns, and the boy shows him the pictures inside: "Look! Look! Look!" They snuggle and read together until they fall asleep. On the last page, they're "out."

Is it any good?

LOOK! is a charming, funny book that uses only two words -- in different ways for different meanings -- to tell an engaging story that celebrates the fun of reading and sharing a good book. The digitally manipulated mixed-media illustrations capture the changing emotions of the two characters and offer subtle references for book lovers, including a library due-date card across from the title page; ragged book-page edges; worn, crackled-looking book-cover spines trimming a two-page spread and serving as individual page backgrounds; and patterned or textured endpaper sheets as backgrounds.

With humor and a light touch, author-illustrator Jeff Mack tackles the books-vs.-TV debate. But beyond the pro-reading message, it's a sweet story of friendship and conflict resolution featuring two adorable characters.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about books. Can reading sometimes be more fun than TV?

  • Do you ever have a hard time getting a friend or brother or sister to pay attention to you when they're watching TV ro playing a video game? What's the best way to get their attention?

  • Pick a word or phrase and try to create a story using only that and pictures.

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love picture books

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