4 out of 4 stars
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It's been said that one shouldn't use the words "always" and "never" because there are nearly always exceptions to the rule. Well, feline authors Howie Doinn and Candice B. Furreal have obviously not heard that because not only does their book title include the word "never," but it's in all caps. WARNING! NEVER. EVER. is a book for children that notes things that one should "Never ever" do.
While I generally believe in some things that "they" say, I'm starting to think that there are exceptions to the "there are exceptions" clause. For instance, in this hilarious children's book, one given piece of advice is to "Never ever use the vacuum to clean your dog." Now, I don't know about you, but I could "never" see a reason to vacuum my dog! This book is chock-full of such wisdom, and I was laughing all the way through the read. After the list of things to avoid doing is a section on the "authors," who are in disguise in their professional pictures, if one considers sunglasses and a hat to be a disguise (hey, glasses alone work for Clark Kent!). In this rip-roaring segment, the felines advise that they weren't authorized to publish this book, which they found in their kid's room, but they had to because they needed the money. I don't want to give away any spoilers, so I'll refrain from saying anything further about this part of the tome.
I honestly cannot remember the last time I had such fun with a book, children's or otherwise. The advice given is outrageous but appropriate for very young children, who are curious and may really try to give the cat lollipops, draw on their pets with magic markers, or let goldfish swim in the toilet. Even as an adult, I enjoyed repeatedly reading the carrier phrase and found myself breathlessly awaiting the rest of the sentence on the following page. It was like I had gone back in time a few decades and was my younger self. I was so giddy while reading!
Each instruction in WARNING! NEVER. EVER. is accompanied by an appropriate illustration that is at least as funny as the advice given. I am well over the suggested age range for this book, yet I was still cackling with laughter until my sides hurt. After the author’s section, there's a page acknowledging the illustrator, Boris P. Grann, whom the authors found on Fiverr. I think it's very nice that he was found on Fiverr, as I'm personally familiar with freelancing on the platform. I always enjoy hearing the finished audio from my gigs, so I imagine it is wonderful for him to see his artwork being used in such an awesome book.
This book is meant for readers aged five and above, and the writing is appropriate for such a young group. Each admonishment begins with "Never ever," and the repetition is perfect for children. I also think it would be a good idea for parents to read along with their children, asking them why they shouldn't do something. For instance, a mother could ask, "Jasmine, why do you think you should never let cows in the house?" as a thinking exercise.
I found WARNING! NEVER. EVER. to be professionally edited, so I am pleased to give the book 4 out of 4 stars. I only wish I could give it more. I definitely recommend it to young readers as well as anyone who likes goofy fun, zany pictures, and silly ideas. And should you read it, remember to never ever wash your computer, tablet, or smartphone in the washing machine in order to clean out the file when you are done.
Warning. Never. Ever.
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