Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Hide This Book: Foolin', Fibbin', and Fakin' It: The Naughty Kid's Handbook by Rod Green


With that warning caveat emptor out of the way first-off, Rod Green's The Naughty Kid's Handbook (Dino Books, 2015), heads off into capers that most kids will claim to, at least  as wishful thinking. What kid hasn't wished he or she could avoid sitting in the middle of back seat on a long car trip, book-ended by two pesky siblings? What kid looks forward to being kissed by distant great-aunties, or eating unfamiliar or even foreign foods on vacation?

Is there a kid with soul so dead who hasn't to himself have said, "How can I get out of eating Brussels sprouts for dinner?"

With tongue totally in cheek, author Green has the handbook to end all handbooks for kids, written with touches of British slang that somehow add to the fun.

Take getting out of yard work (or as the Brits euphemistically term it, "gardening"). The best ploy is an allergy (the vaguely defined "hay fever") which comes and goes conveniently throughout the growing season. First brush up on fake sneezes. Practice honking into a hanky until it sounds believable. Then brush a little pink blush lifted from mom's bath around the eyes, add a little baby oil on the lower lids to fake watery eyes, and for sniffly verisimilitude, the perfect product is probably right in the cupboard:

Now for the snotty nose. . . Don't actually blow your nose (fake that), because between your nose and your top lip you are going to have a very convincing moist, glistening, slow-moving nostril slug. The best way to fake a snot creature emerging from your nose is to use honey. Honey is easy to wipe off but looks truly disgusting.

What parents can look at that pitiful and unpleasant face and not send the kid inside? With luck, they'll even say "Send out your sister to help then!" Double points!

For the middle seat on the car trip dilemma, you'll have to fake a barf. No parent wants a pukey kid in the middle of the back seat, and a window seat is guaranteed. But this one takes some sneaky planning to produce faux throw-up before entering the car. What is required is extensive prank prep, beginning with rehearsing the sound of a barf convincingly. Then there's some sleight of hand practice to be done:

What you are going to do is to fake a vomit.

You will need a small tin of vegetable soup--reddish brown and plenty of carrots which, as every fool knows, always seem to turn up in every puke.

Now you will need a long, straight balloon. Cut the open end off and use a funnel to fill the balloon with cold soup. Don't overfill the balloon; you will need enough balloon at the top to hold it shut so that the soup doesn't come out until you want it to. Keep it upright under your sleeve.

Then before you get too close to your waiting family, deliver your "I'm really not feeling very well" line, turn away from them, make a huge retching sound, and let the balloon deliver the faux pavement pizza. Then say bravely, "I think I'll be okay now."

No one in his right mind is going to want
you sitting in the middle.

There are plenty more clandestine capers in this handbook--practical tricks such as ways to win every time at tic-tac-toe, (naughts and crosses in Brit-Speak), rock-paper-scissors, and cutting the cards. How to avoid a sing-along to your parents' music ("They'll tune the radio to a station so boring that only old people know how to find it, with songs so ancient Noah's family hummed them while counting the animals.") needs only a simple bit of chicanery that siblings will willingly join in.

More complicated naughtiness requires serious planning, e.g.,. sneaking back down to watch the telly after being sent up to bed requires faking a doorbell or noise at the backdoor to get your parents out of the room for a moment and fashioning a telescope from a plastic wrap box and two mirrors to use to watch from behind a chair or the curtains. And fooling teachers to get out of PE or chilly, rainy recesses, faking a shower after said PE, or pulling off the old ruse of "the dog ate my homework" in convincing style--all get their own chapters with helpful hints for every step of the plan.

Text boxes ("Fact or Fib") in each chapter give readers a chance to determine their own gullibility, and the whole book is a clever and witty tour de force for upper elementary and middle school kids that will win LOLs all around. Even one-time naughty kids all grown up will want to sneak a read of this one to get in on the glee.

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