cover image I Did It. I'm Sorry.

I Did It. I'm Sorry.

Caralyn Buehner. Dial Books, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-2010-7

In this clever companion picture book to their hilarious etiquette guide, It's a Spoon, Not a Shovel, the Buehners use wit and very punny humor to tackle the issue of ethics for children. The multiple-choice format here translates into more of a spirited guessing game than a classroom-style quiz. On each spread one or more animal characters faces an ethical dilemma (should Ima Scalebody the fish cheat on her test? Should Howie Hogg clean up the toys he took out?). Readers are encouraged to assess the situation and choose a suitable (and usually obvious) answer from three selections. As one of the many visual bonuses in this volume, the letter of the correct response is hidden somewhere in Mark Buehner's illustration. The artist's passion for visual surprise doesn't end there: he has also concealed bumblebees, cats, rabbits and dinosaurs, among other things, in each of his lush and expressive oil-and-acrylic paintings. From a school of fish in an underwater classroom to rats in a cafeteria, the artist tweaks familiar settings by populating them with his own gently anthropomorphic animal kingdom. Caralyn Buehner's snappy, alliterative text makes for an exuberant read-aloud, perfect for sharing between parent and child. Grown-ups will guffaw over such aptly named critters as the flies Buzzer and Annoya McFly, and rats Diseasa and Fungusto. But best of all, this book brims with the sort of solid values every child should learn: never lie, follow the rules, obey your parents and think of others. Ages 4-8. (May)