Review Blog

Jan 31 2017

The kids' survival guide: Avoiding 'When I was young' and other brain-exploding lectures by Susan Berran

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Big Sky Publishing, 2016. ISBN 9781925520071
(Age: 8-10) Author Susan Berran humorously provides advice for kids on how to survive parent lectures. When Sam's family move to the country after the arrival of his sister Miss Smelly Melly Poop Pants, he is annoyed. His new school has only thirty students and he becomes best mates with Jared another city transplant. After their Super-charged Cow Crapper Attacker accidentally covers the whole soccer team, the coach, the ref and half the crowd, Sam and his friend receive the same lecture by their parents and the adults involved. Why do they all use the same phrases, is there a secret guidebook? Yes, hidden in the cleaning cupboard is the parent manual titled 'Boring Useless Lectures, Lessons, Children's Rules and Punishments' (that's Bullcrap for short!) Sam informs the reader he is going to share his 'own brain-blowing close encounters to teach you how to get out of stuff!'
Part 1 covers those familiar parent topics - 'You Should Know, I've Told You a Hundred Times! You're Bigger than Her, Act Your Age' and that ever popular - 'When I Was Your Age!' Sam's interactions with his younger sister and his constant fixation on her poopy pants are comical. His mother's lectures laying down the guilt trap are easily recognisable - setting an example or it wouldn't hurt to help around here! Part 2 introduces the POOEARS concept and parts 3-5 include more silly situations and sage insights.
Author Susan Berran's survival guide is a fabulous class read-aloud. Her warnings and hints are comical - 'avoid eye contact at all cost' and 'absolutely do not get sucked in and answer them!' This book is well presented, with a large font, an easy to read format, fun cartoons spread throughout, relatable characters and amusing scenes from family and school life. Berran's message is one of reassurance, that kids are not alone, they have similar childhood encounters.
Rhyllis Bignell

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