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Children's LiteratureThe author's premise of informing and educating young people about subtle, and not-so-subtle, advertising techniques and how advertising can be harmful, along with ways they can take action, is admirable. However, the demeaning writing style, dubious suggestions for action, and other possibly dangerous suggestions negate the positive aspects of this book. The author does expose negative aspects of advertising and how seemingly innocuous, or hidden, advertising is invasive and affects everyone personally. However, she uses inappropriate language gratuitously and some of her writing style could be construed as biased or offensive ("short people" in the title, for example). Among her discussions of activism are potentially illegal practices, and she does point out the possible pitfalls of actions such as: "pirate" radio stations, which are against FCC rules; graffiti, which she admits can be illegal; and pie-in-the-face for public officials, which could be assault. She recommends locating and consulting a "cool" lawyer before taking action. Alarmingly, she advocates dishonesty when she tells young people to lie about their age and to "feel free to inflate" statistics because "advertisers do" (p. 57). Most alarming, the author tells young people to write to a "company whose products [they] enjoy" and "ask them to adopt you. Offer to live in the company president's office or house" (p. 33). Young people could begin to think critically and to support beliefs by not buying this book. 2004, Soft Skull Press/Publishers Group West, Ages 12 to 18.
—Brenda Dales, Ph.D.