Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Book or Bell?” as Want to Read:
Book or Bell?
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Book or Bell?

3.23  ·  Rating details ·  229 ratings  ·  56 reviews
The first page has Henry hooked.

The second page has him captivated.

The third page . . .


. . . will have to wait.

That is, unless Henry ignores the bell, stays put, and keeps on reading the most awesome book.

By not springing up with the ringing of the bell, Henry sets off a chain reaction unlike anything his school or town has ever seen. Luckily, Mayor
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published October 17th 2017 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.23  · 
Rating details
 ·  229 ratings  ·  56 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Book or Bell?
Jillian Heise
Jul 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picbooks
I thought the idea had potential, but then the story went a totally different direction than I expected, which didn't quite live up to the premise for me. ...more
Sarah Daniluk
Feb 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-book
The child in me knows I would've found this book wildly entertaining. The adult in me sees a bigger message about finding better solutions than what is bigger, brighter and louder. Sometimes, all we need is a little quiet. ...more
Nov 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-book
A book-loving kid is so engrossed by his reading (about bikes) that he ignores the bell at school. So the higher-ups try a louder bell. And louder ... and louder. But the boy would rather read, so he ignores them all. The resolution? I'm actually not sure. It's suddenly Saturday, and he takes the training wheels off his bike and joins everyone for a ride. It's an unexpected twist that doesn't flow and seems to come out of nowhere.

Fun illustrations, aptly depicting a kid in the many stages and po
V.A. Trafton
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A boy finds a book he loves and can't seem to put it down. A bell keeps interrupting his book time so he chooses to ignore the bell and disrupts the routine. Was choosing to finish his book the right decision? ...more
Kids thought the adults solutions were hilarious.
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great book to show students the love other students have for books. It is a great book to ask students what they think will happen next throughout it.
Oct 20, 2017 rated it liked it
An interesting take on the idea of conformity vs. individualism.
Feb 20, 2018 rated it did not like it
Um. What. This was a fantastic opportunity to focus on the enjoyment of reading and on schools' too rigid schedules that don't allow for any creative thought outside of what has to be taught. It was even set up to showcase the delight a child had while reading! Instead, all of that potential was twisted into everything that went wrong because the child decided to read instead of doing other things. Also, the solution to a kid wanting to read instead of attend class or lunch? THE WEEKEND. What?! ...more
Benjamin Elliott
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book started out with promise, but it didn't quite put the pieces together. I know the different turns were intended to be silly, but each one followed a path that broke down if you were to follow it to its logical conclusion. Of course, they didn't follow any of them to their logical solution. The boy's action wouldn't lead to the problem that arose, the suggestions don't make the most sense for the problem, and the eventual solution doesn't match the suggestions or the problem.

The closes
This being a book about a boy who loves to read so much that he ignores the bell at school, I really wanted to love it and give it 5 stars.

But...alas...nope. The story is pretty good. The adults in the story are trying to come up with a way to get the boy's attention so he hears the bell. I get that. What I didn't like was the ending. It was weird. It had really nothing to do with the boy loving to read.
Kevin W
Nov 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Some fun is had with some oddly disconnected ideas, but the ending comes out of nowhere and doesn't resolve anything. ...more
Sheri Hoyte Books
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Okay, let me just start by saying Book or Bell? is my new all-time favorite picture book. Henry finds a good book and just wants to read, but life (or school in his case), just keeps getting in the way. We can all relate to that, right?

An Argument for Independent Thinking
Now, Henry always does what he is supposed to do but, this book is so good he finally makes a decision that he is not going to jump up every time the bell rings and chooses instead to quench his need to read. Nothing gets in the
Ben Truong
Nov 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Book or Bell? is a children's picture book written by Chris Barton and illustrated by Ashley Spires. It is about a boy who is fascinated in a book to the extent that he would ignore everything to continue reading with disastrous effects.

Barton's text is simplistic, straightforward, and rather humorous. It is a satire story about a boy who is so entrench in his book that he would ignore everything to continue reading (something I may know about), which concern the adults from the mayor, governor,
RTB: Review of Texas Books
by Andrea Karlin

Henry has found what he thinks may be the best book he has ever read. He doesn’t want to put it down, so when the bell rings, triggering class change, he does not feel as if he has been saved at all. He wants to keep reading and decides to do just that. His uncommon defiance sets off a chain reaction that impacts Henry and his classmates, as well as the other teachers and adults who make some very unfortunate decisions to rectify what they perceive as Henry’s "problem."

Author Ch
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Barton, Chris Book or Bell? Illustrated by Ashley Spires. PICTURE BOOK. Bloomsbury, 2017. $17. 9781681197296.

Henry is hooked on his book. When he decides to stay in instead of going to lunch, disaster happens. The solution – get Henry’s attention with a bigger, louder bell. But when that doesn’t work, maybe an even bigger bell is called for?

I like Chris Barton – I like Ashley Spires. This book, however doesn’t make my heart sing. Its kind of funny and kind makes sense in its progression, but it
Henry starts reading a book that's just SO good he doesn't want to do anything else. (Hey, I can relate to this!). His teacher is mystified, and the classroom is thrown into utter chaos when Henry is too busy reading to participate in any of the activities. Experts are consulted, and a series of louder and louder bells is brought in in hopes of luring Henry out from the pages of his book. This was a really fun premise that many young bookworms will relate to. The illustrations are expressive and ...more
Ruth Ann
I fully understand the problem Henry faces in this book. He is hooked on a book and he keeps getting interrupted! So, he decides to stay put while he's in school. No going to lunch. No recess. No art class. No gym class. He just sits at his desk and reads his very compelling book. There are consequences to his non-participation and this provides a lot of humor for readers.
How does his school react? Louder bells!
His teacher has a solution to bells so loud kids lose their socks, ink comes off whit
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The ending could use a little work, but I LOVE this book!! Henry has found the perfect book on bicycles. He is so engrossed but the school bell tells him it’s time to do something else. But Henry wants to keep reading. And so he does. The school tries to get him to stop and buys a louder and louder bell to make it happen. While I do love this book, there are a few things I don’t like. He’s at school. We should be proud that a kid wants to read. The principal shouldn’t be trying to get him to sto ...more
Dec 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books, 2017
The ending comes out of left field, I guess trying to convey a "let's all get outside and be active" message that doesn't really make sense. But the repetition of "what we need is a bigger bell," the sound effects, and the illustrations make for a humorous read. My three year old and my six year old both loved it, and I would probably use it in storytime at the library. ...more
Alex Lindsley
May 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a fun book, especially because of the ridiculous solutions of most of the adults. I liked the illustrations too and I think this would be a great book to help inspire children to read. "If Henry could find a book he liked so much he'd keep reading it at any cost, why can't you. I'll help you find one..." ...more
When Henry picks a book to read about a bike, the first page has him hooked, and as he reads it the school bell rings, but Henry decides to just stay put. This action causes a reaction that upsets the normal flow of things. Decisions are made to get a louder bell, but when this doesn't work, a simpler solution is used. ...more
Vicki Plant
Nov 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Funniest picture book I have seen in awhile. Hilarity ensues when a little boy finds a captivating book and decides to stay put instead of a paying attention to the school bell. Perfect for reading aloud.
I liked it up to the end, but that is what makes it possible to pair it with the many books about kids rushing to get to school and finding it's a Saturday. Will make a fun read-aloud. What a great pairing of author and illustrator. ...more
Dec 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
A boy is so engrossed in his book, he decides to ignore the bell at school and keep reading. The higher ups can't seem to think of a way for him to leave the room when the bell rings.

A humorous story about a boy who finds a great book to read. Fun and silly illustrations.
Jan 02, 2018 rated it liked it
A fun book for story time, lots of noises and exclamations to be had. It shows well that wonderful
moment when you disappear into a book and don’t want to climb out again, and then shows some silly, ridiculous consequences to this - kids will laugh along with this book.
Jan 15, 2018 rated it liked it
We've all had that moment where a book is just too good to put down but we begrudgingly do so. But Henry decides to stay put which leads to a series of unfortunate events. A silly take on problem solving that doesn't work. ...more
Donna Mork
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Funny book about a boy who finds a book he likes so much, he stops everything else to just read the book. I have often felt that way about my books, and read deep into the night even when I should be sleeping.
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books
I expected this to be about the joy of reading, but it read to me of more of an indictment of politicians with no understanding of education trying to solve things and making things worse. Not that I disagree with that, but it just seemed like really weird book.
Sep 23, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Cute silly book about a boy who loves to read so much that he won't do anything else. Politicians think they have the solution, but it only makes things worse for everyone else. My only problem with this book is that the ending sort of fell flat in my opinion. ...more
May 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
Delightful book requested again and again by my 6 and 4 yr olds.
I would pause before turning the page and my 4 year old with a significant speech delay would shout “a louder bell!” at the appropriate time. Absolutely adorable!
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Journey
  • The Barnabus Project
  • Hello Lighthouse
  • Leave Me Alone!
  • I Am the Boss of this Chair
  • Hubble Bubble, Granny Trouble
  • The Snowy Nap
  • Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré
  • Who Wet My Pants?
  • Neck  Neck
  • Rock What Ya Got
  • My Happy Year by E. Bluebird
  • Not Quite Snow White
  • The Bad Mood and the Stick
  • The Someone New
  • If I Built a House
  • Cat Wishes
  • Giraffes Can't Dance
See similar books…
I'm the author of picture books including bestseller Shark vs. Train, Sibert Honor-winning The Day-Glo Brothers, and Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson's Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions, which was included on 21 state reading lists.

My newest books include Fire Truck vs. Dragon, All of a Sudden and Forever: Help and Healing After the Oklahoma City Bombing, What Do You Do with a Voice Like That? The Story of

Related Articles

  Comedian, actress, and writer Ali Wong is also an avid reader of diverse authors: "I feel like I have great taste in books." Now you can see...
122 likes · 13 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »