Reviews for Never Take a Shark to the Dentist : And Other Things Not to Do

Booklist Reviews 2008 April #1
Barrett, the author of such popular books as Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (1978), presents examples of experiences with animals that one should largely avoid. Although she suggests it's OK to go shopping with a pelican, it's not good to take a giraffe to the movies (the page unfolds to accommodate the giraffe's long neck) or go to the shoe store with a centipede. Some reasons for caution seem obvious (nobody need ants at a picnic); others are more dependent on the illustrations. Young viewers will appreciate the structural consistency of the book. A statement declaring what one shouldn't do appears on the left-hand page, opposite a full-page illustration showing the consequences of ignoring the advice. The colorful acrylic illustrations are populated entirely with animals, often oddly juxtaposed. Yet the very incongruity, along with the animals' various antics and the expressions on the characters' faces are all part of the fun and fit perfectly with the droll humor of the concept. This is sure to be another crowd-pleaser. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2008 Fall
Kids will immediately absorb the wisdom of the pithy, emphatic rules laid down here: "NEVER sit next to a porcupine on the subway," "NEVER take a giraffe to the movies," "NEVER hold hands with a lobster." A cast of animals and insects illustrates the hazards of breaking the rules in appropriately absurd full-page paintings. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2008 January #1
Nearly 40 years since Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing (1970), Barrett is still dispensing similarly ageless wisdom--cautioning readers, here, against inviting ants to a picnic, shopping for shoes with a centipede, holding hands with a lobster and similar efforts to socialize with wild animals. Nickle's sophisticated, precisely detailed illustrations exploit the droll possibilities of each apothegm. A subway-riding porcupine gets up, for instance, leaving a sheaf of quills in his neighbor (an indignant anteater), the aforementioned centipede is gleefully whipping out a charge card to buy different shoes for each pair of feet, and the problem with taking a giraffe to the movies is plainly revealed in an upward-opening gatefold. A final positive after the litany of "nevers"--"Always go shopping with a pelican"--provides tidy closure to this latest distillation of good advice. (Picture book. 5-7) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2008 February #1

Barrett (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs ) and Nickle (The Ant Bully ) compile a set of droll rules to live by, each recommendation reinforced by a meticulous full-page image. The hulking shark of the title, for instance, glares at the bite-size kangaroo giving him a root canal--a darkly funny vision for those who fear dentists. Sometimes the animal and insect characters exaggerate certain human dramas: two cockroaches assist a demanding customer ("Never go shopping for shoes with a centipede") or, in the overleaf of a clever vertical gatefold, an all-rabbit crowd watches a film with a tall individual blocking the screen ("Never take a giraffe to the movies"). Barrett maintains the negative commands until the conclusion, which winks, "But always go shopping with a pelican" (a built-in tote). Nickle, working in hyper-detailed acrylics, enhances the comical phrases with surreal imagery: well-dressed wild animals with panicked expressions throw their arms in the air when a small creature walks in ("Never go to the bank with a raccoon"); a housefly features in a cheerfully creepy scene ("Never play checkers with a spider"). Kids will revel in the absurd humor. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2008 May

PreS-Gr 2-- In this compilation of advice, Barrett once again puts a humorous spin on otherwise mundane scenarios, juxtaposing seemingly serious wisdom with absurdity. In addition to the title admonition, warnings such as "Never go shopping for shoes with a centipede," "Never play double Dutch with a grasshopper," and "Never hold hands with a lobster" are fairly self-explanatory, while others rely more heavily on the artwork. Fortunately, Nickle cleverly illustrates each of these cautionary statements with careful acrylic images that will be appreciated by kids. As in Things That Are Most in the World (S & S, 1998), he takes Barrett's amusing phrases and paints them with details that expose the silliness. Statements like "Never go to the bank with a raccoon" become hilarious when combined with the looks on the faces of the animals involved. And "Never take a goat with you to the library" is sure to get a laugh at storytimes. After all of the negative warnings, the book concludes on a positive suggestion to "always go shopping with a pelican," tidily wrapping up the book.--Piper Nyman, Brookmeade Elementary School, Nashville, TN

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