Books by Carol Barkin

SOCIAL SMARTS by Elizabeth James
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 20, 1996

A book of advice, subtitled ``Manners for Today's Kids,'' on how to deal with various issues of etiquette, including introductions, school dances, family vacations, meals, parties, hospitalized and bereaved friends, and many others. The chapters include relevant letters to a ``mythical'' columnist, K.T. Answers, and subsequent advice. Important and useful information appears in this volume, especially in the chapter on ``Difficult Times,'' and most of the tips are sensible and not overly starchy. As a whole, though, the book is rather dull, and the chapter on introductions, no matter how commonsense, will have many children giving up without an effort. The most interesting parts are letters to K.T. Answers, which show specific problems from a child's perspective and provide specific solutions. Funny black-and-white illustrations help James and Barkin (A Place of Your Own, 1981, etc.) make the point that manners are the oil that keeps social situations running smoothly; children facing new predicaments will be glad of the straightforward table of contents to help them locate their particular areas of concern. (Nonfiction. 9-13) Read full book review >