People Don't Bite People

People Don't Bite People

Book - 2018
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People don't bite people. It's nasty and it's rude! A friend will never bite a friend. Biting is for food! Illustrations and rhyming text urge children to use their teeth for biting food, not their friends or relatives.
Publisher: New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, [2018]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781481490825
1481490826
9781481490832
Branch Call Number: E Whe
Characteristics: 1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 27 cm
Additional Contributors: Idle, Molly Schaar - Illustrator
Alternative Title: People do not bite people

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wolftune
Jun 21, 2018

A great idea with a fine little chorus/hook to the poem, but mediocre in the end.

Consider the great ideas about biting from people who actually understand kids, such as: https://www.handinhandparenting.org/article/what-to-do-when-toddlers-bite/ — kids have frustrations, feelings of aggression, and they need to learn to understand and communicate feelings in healthy ways.

In this book, the primary message of "biting is for food" is great, but there's too much of "you are NOT a bear… NOT a shark… NOT a wolf" which ends up as an (unintended) anti-imagination message. There's also a line about how dogs and horses bite but "are animals you see, but we…" … are not even animals?? (is the implication) Another line says that babies and puppies bite but "you grow bigger every day…" (huh? that's not a distinction between the child reader and babies/puppies).

The good intentions and decent parts of this book don't quite make up for its problems. It's disappointing because it had potential if only an editor had insisted that it be done better…

I suggest parents take the best version of the chorus (and the only place in the whole book that references moods and feelings):

"People don't bite people.
No matter what their mood.
A friend will never bite a friend.
BITING IS FOR FOOD!"

And make up your OWN melody and a song to go with it instead of exposing your toddler to this mediocre book. Come up with your own messages about feelings, frustrations, playing pretend but still without biting… use it as a chance to be creative with your kid. And skip this book.

Also, if you have an idea for a kid's book, run it by some child psychologist(s) and otherwise think deeply about what take-away kids get from each point. Here's how a truly skilled and compassionate person thinks about the extreme importance of crafting the right messages for children: https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2018/06/mr-rogers-neighborhood-talking-to-kids/562352/

LibrarianDest May 19, 2018

I thought the rhyming song-like text was very funny, though some of the children in story time seemed to take it pretty seriously (maybe they are genuinely struggling with biting issues).

KHCPL_Wagner May 15, 2018

This is an excellent book to read with a child who is going through a biting phase.

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