The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Junior Edition by David Borgenicht and Robin Epstein, illustrated by Chuck Gonzales, Chronicle Books, 2007
One of the things that delighted me at the International Spy Museum gift store, last summer, was the interesting and humorous selection of books for sale. I was tickled to see the entire line of Worst-Case Scenario books there. These books offer a combination of practical and MacGyver-esque advice. There is also the entertaining speculation of "what would I do if attacked by an alligator or trapped in quicksand?"
The Junior Edition focuses its advice for youngsters on the survival skills needed at home, school, socially and outdoors. Looking through the book as an adult, you feel the empathy Borgenicht and Epstein have for kids making their way through the minefield that is childhood.
There are the practical suggestions that are parent pleasing, "How to Make your Room Shipshape" and "How to Survive Outdoor Chores." Other chapters satisfy the gross-out factor, "How to Survive Poo on your Shoe" and "How to Survive Farting in Public." Other sections offer support with situations that truly concern kids, such as bullies, having to eat lunch alone, and being the new kid.
Tips for surviving parent anger are dished out with humor,
Telltale Signs you've got an annoyed adult on your hands
Steam is pouring out of his nose or ears.
Her arms are crossed and her foot is tapping but there's no music playing in the background. ...
She keeps pounding the kitchen table with her shoe...
The book design by Lynne Yeamans is easy on young eyes with reader friendly typeface and lots of white space. Chuck Gonzales's illustrations are comical yet accurate. This is a book that kids will pick up and read. They will recognize the situations outlined in the book which are presented with humor and sympathy.