People Don't Bite People

illus. by Molly Idle. 40p. S. & S./Atheneum. Apr. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481490825. POP
PreS-K—This instructional book about biting goes above and beyond a basic lesson with its cheeky rhymes and bright, over-the-top illustrations. Wheeler writes in precise rhythmic rhyming verse, informing readers what things are good and bad to bite, in a style reminiscent of Jane Yolen's "Dinosaurs" series. The refrain features the titular "People don't bite people" and always ends with "biting is for food." The suggestions appeal to common sense, reminding children that they are not wild animals, and giving the characters the opportunity to right their behavior, by politely chewing a piece of pizza rather than gnawing on their mother, for example. Caldecott honoree Idle's wide-eyed, retro children jump off the page with ultra bright pastels done in Prismacolor pencils and expressions as sweet as the foods that adorn the cover page. Adults and children alike will appreciate the humor in both the text and illustrations, an element which is often missing in didactic works, from the up-close views of teeth and tongues on the endpapers, to the twist ending featuring gingerbread people (the one exception to the title's rule).
VERDICT This book is sure to elicit giggles from group read-alouds or one-on-one sharing. Add to any collection in need of a wildly entertaining title that addresses a common childhood issue.

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