When illustrator Robert Bender asked thousands of kids what they thought other kids and adults ought to know, he received an answer that would become the title of his book: Never Eat ANYTHING that MOVES: Good, Bad, and Very Silly Advice from Kids. Bender has written and illustrated over a dozen highly praised children's books. He first let kids have their say in Lima Beans Would Be Illegal: Children's Ideas of a Perfect World, in which children aged 7 to 12 responded with wit and wisdom, offering gems like, "I would like some peas and quiet." But Bender realized he had barely scratched the surface of the humorous and profound thoughts kids have to share with us. In the intro to Never Eat, he says, "I found that kids care a lot about other people, themselves, and this planet. They are imaginative and wise, funny and weird and have great sensitivity. Who but a kid would know how to deal with a monster under the bed (put your little sister under it and listen for a crunch'), or when not to give your dad a free haircut (when he's sleeping')?" In his new book, kids offer tips for their peers in the never, ever category: "eat beans before you go to church," or "leave cookie dough with a three-year-old. They put in secret' ingredients." Best of all, suitable for all ages is, "never ask a large woman if she's pregnant." But some of the most enlightening counsel comes from young girls . . . "The best advice I gave a friend was to forgive herself for all the bad stuff she used to do. She took my advice and now she doesn't smoke, drink, threaten people or think about killing herself," and "Your worst may be someone else's best." If you can't find your gum, your shoe will find it for you.
Joslyn Smeal, age 11Never save your page with gum.
Jack Friedberg, age 9