Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Kid's Guide to Surviving Embarrassing Situations

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Kid's Guide to Surviving Embarrassing Situations

Article excerpt

Byline: Brandy Hilboldt Allport

The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbooks teach adults how to do everything from emerge unscathed from an elephant stampede to recover from mortification when a restaurant declines a credit card during a date. The first handbook, created by co-authors David Borgenicht and Joshua Piven, hit stores in 1999. A franchise followed, with titles about specific subjects (travel, weddings, golf, holidays.) Then came the calendars, the decks of cards and the cable television show.

Now we have the first Junior Edition of a Worst-Case Scenario Handbook ($9.95) by Borgenicht and Robin Epstein.

The familiar, lightweight format that incorporates enumerated instructions and diagrams with dot-to-dot lines to highlight key points carry over into the books aimed at readers ages 9 to 12. Yes, I wrote "books." A spokeswoman for Chronicle Books said to expect a fall 2008 release called Extreme Junior Edition.

Like its older brothers and sisters, Junior is practical, succinct and dry-witted.

Consider this entry:

How to Survive Going "Splat" in the Cafeteria.

1. Pop up and dust off.

2. Scan the room for reaction.

3. Laugh it off and take your bow.

4. With your chin up, walk to your table and eat what remains on your tray. (Do not dwell in your puddle of spilled milk).

Top five options for what to yell when you hit the ground: "Man down!" "Food fight!" "Duck and cover!" "Thar she blows!" "Stop, drop, and roll."

Advice for the tween crowd covers practical matters such as giving an oral report without passing out, increasing a skimpy allowance and acing a spelling test. Less earth-shattering situations (take the bite out of braces, outsmart a prankster and shake, rattle and roll through a school dance) get equal space and consideration in the book -- a sure sign the writers know their audience.

NEW AND NOTABLE

TESTED AND APPROVED: Second- and third-grade boy who love to read often favor a series (tried-and-true author, familiar protagonist). …

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