A rollicking reminder of what to do—and not do—with your pearly whites.
The commandments rhyme and scan terrifically right out of the gate: “It’s good to bite a carrot. / It’s good to bite a steak. / It’s BAD to bite your sister! / She’s not a piece of cake.” A white, blond, round-headed kid gazes dubiously across the spread at that blonde sister, who occupies the lower left quarter of her page. The other quarters of her page offer—natch—a carrot, a steak, and a piece of cake, all retro-styled and glowing. The next spread features a black sibling team with similar instructions. Refrains reiterate that “BITING IS FOR FOOD!” —once fabulously rhymed with “You’re not a zombie, dude!”—and that a “friend will never bite a friend” (more ideal than truth, honestly). Idle’s pencil colors are rich and soft. Some of her flat, round-headed figures show neat, inventively continuous outlines of positions that evoke stretching or movement, while others’ torsos appear motionless like oval or triangular plastic toys. The gleeful, confident patter feels no need to justify its instructions—no injuries appear, real nor imagined—and to very young readers, biting may sound like merely a manners issue (it’s “nasty” and “rude”).
Find out why people don’t bite people elsewhere; get this to summon instant rereads and loud participation. (Picture book. 2-5)