cover image It's a Spoon, Not a Shovel

It's a Spoon, Not a Shovel

Caralyn Buehner. Dial Books, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-1494-6

Part Emily Post and part I Spy game, this humorous guide to basic etiquette painlessly provides plenty of solid information on societal do's and don'ts. One page of each spread contains a brief scenario followed by one or two multiple-choice quizzes, opposite which a quirky animal cast depicts the action described. With her playful use of language and suitably silly set-ups (``Gazing into her sweetheart's eyes while eating an armadillo, Miss Crocodila Jones doesn't notice that she is sitting on her napkin''), Caralyn Buehner (A Job for Wittilda) makes her text both comical and educational-(Crocodila's napkin-placement options, for example, are ``a. On her head. b. In her ear. c. On her lap''). Mark Buehner's (The Adventures of Taxi Dog) lush palette and deft use of light and shadow characterize his paintings, many of which feature unusual perspectives and fetching closeups. In a clever challenge for readers, the letters corresponding to the correct quiz answers are hidden in the accompanying pictures. Numerous other seek-and-find possibilities will surely tickle junior sleuths while turning them into the very models of modern manners. Ages 4-8. (June)