Never Take a Shark to the Dentist: (and Other Things Not to Do)

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There are many things you should never, ever, ever do.

Like sit next to a porcupine on the subway (ouch!). Or hold hands with a lobster (double ouch!). Or take a shark to the dentist (triple ouch!).

Bestselling author JUDI BARRETT and imaginative illustrator JOHN NICKLE give us a raucous look at the perils of taking giraffes to the movies, goats to the library, and pigs out to lunch...and other such silly ...

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There are many things you should never, ever, ever do.

Like sit next to a porcupine on the subway (ouch!). Or hold hands with a lobster (double ouch!). Or take a shark to the dentist (triple ouch!).

Bestselling author JUDI BARRETT and imaginative illustrator JOHN NICKLE give us a raucous look at the perils of taking giraffes to the movies, goats to the library, and pigs out to lunch...and other such silly stuff.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

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.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
School Library Journal

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

Kirkus Reviews
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)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416907244
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 3/4/2008
  • Pages: 34
  • Sales rank: 191,328
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.70 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Judi Barrett is the author of many beloved books for children, including the bestselling Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, Pickles to Pittsburgh, Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing, and Santa from Cincinnati. She teaches art to kindergarten students at a school in her Brooklyn, New York, neighborhood.

John Nickle is the illustrator of Judi Barrett’s Things That Are Most in the World, as well as the author and illustrator of TV Rex, Alphabet Explosion!: Search and Count from Alien to Zebra, and The Ant Bully. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. Learn more about him at

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Customer Reviews

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