Tuesday 28 February 2017

The Kids’ Survival Guide

The Kids’ Survival Guide by Susan Berran (Big Sky Publishing) PB RRP ISBN 978192552007

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

Subtitled ‘Avoiding “When I was Young” and other Brain-exploding Lectures’, this book is not likely to be purchased by parents but by a certain kind of child. Basically it is a series of addresses by Sam, a country boy with an ‘annoying, diarrhoea pants, little snot-nose sister, Miss Smelly Melly Poop Pants’ who discovers a thick book – ‘Boring Useless Lectures, Lessons, Children’s Rules and Punishments’… BULLCRAP for short, which contains information Sam uses to explore in rants about parents and other adults.

The book is divided into five parts with titles such as Awesome Excuses and Uses, Bending the Rules and Dumb Things Parents Say! In Part One, ‘Boring Lectures That Explode Your Brain, and How to Get Out of Them,’ Sam raves at and mocks parents who he says are always giving ‘mind-numbing lectures where they waffle on about dead-boring stuff’ which the little smart aleck says he already knows. Throughout the book Sam vents his frustration and anger at adults who try to help, guide and correct him.

To tell the truth, as one mature adult to this (presumably adult) review reader, it seems to me that Sam is an obnoxious know-it-all who refuses to listen to the voice of his elders. He hates his sister and treats his (long-suffering, I’m sure) parents as though they are boring, punishing, over-bearing and useless. Who would want such a son?

It’s pretty obvious I’m sure that readers of this review will realise the book doesn’t impress me. But it might – who knows – be poured over and devoured by any child who feels he or she suffers at the hands of adults. The book is well designed and illustrated with black and white, accomplished illustrations.

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