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by David Spellman with Lisa Lutz ; illustrated by Jaime Temairik

Age Range: 6 - 9

Pub Date: May 21st, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-4424-5119-3
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Temper tantrums no longer working? “There are very few things in life that you can’t get if you ask for them in a rational manner and offer something in return.”

Giving one of her fictional characters both the narrative voice and lead author credit, Lutz extracts canny principles from her adult novel Trail of the Spellmans (2011) that guide a lad named Sammy in dickering for ice cream and then a pet. Illustrated in large, simply drawn cartoons (some of which are drawn from the same source as the text), the negotiations demonstrate the sort of give-and-take required to reach an accommodation. These are embellished with side notes about managing expectations, sealing the deal (“The phrase ‘We’ll see’ is not binding”), setting realistic goals, the hazards of getting too aggressive and the value of persistence. This last is of particular importance if the chosen pet is, for instance, an elephant. The closing glossary both reinforces previously made guidelines and adds more: “Find out what your mark’s weakness is (quiet, candy, wine, elephants) and you’ve got your negotiation in the bag.”

Firmly tongue in cheek, but even less sophisticated readers (and parents) should find these elemental suggestions helpful in getting to yes. (Picture book. 6-9, adult)