The Book of Not Entirely Useful Advice by A.F. Harrold | Book Review

Advice comes in many shapes.
Poems come in many shapes.
And so, it follows, poems of advice come in many shapes too.
Sometimes they look you in the eye and say, ‘Do this! Don’t do that!’
Sometimes they sidle up beside you and whisper, ‘Have you ever thought about . ?’

Not everything in this book is necessarily good advice, and not all of it is sensible advice. (But if you take the bad or un-sensible advice and don’t follow it, then it may become useful advice in its own way.)

Don’t put mustard on dogs, no matter how hot they look, unless you know the dog very well beforehand.
Never apologize to a door you’ve walked into, unless it’s a really special door.
Don’t put a rock in a roll, unless you hate having teeth.

60. The Book of Not Entirely Useful Advice

This was one of my impulse purchases because there are times when I can’t resist a book. (Okay, yes…most of the times.) (Alright, alright… ALL the time.)

This children’s book is filled with seemingly nonsensical stanzas on a wide variety of subjects ranging between food, animals and nature, school life, general knowledge, and miscellaneous subjects pertaining to the human condition. The poems are hysterically fun, witty bits of advice, silly at best, with their usefulness highly questionable. And this is where it calls for some critical thinking… deciding which parts are important. To you.

If you look closely you might discover the author has subtly slipped in a lesson or two that might actually make sense.

The book is illustrated by Mini Grey in a bright and quirky style that brings out the absurdity of these poems. There are little notes scattered throughout the book, both by the author and illustrator. There are also little exercises to create your own rollicking rhymes with witty word play and fizzing fun.

For e.g. If lost, sing about your elbows. (I made that using the Advice-A-Tron 216. I bet A.F. Harrold would be proud of me 😀 )

This will make you laugh until your sides hurt and you might even be tempted to go back and re-read them. Children especially will love this and enjoy creating their own advice using the helpful guide.

The Book of Not Entirely Useful Advice by A.F. Harrold. Illustrated by Mini Grey. Published in 2020 by Bloomsbury.

Book 60 of 2021.

Aquamarine Flavours Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟.

Available on Amazon*.

About Photo: In the list of (not entirely useful) advice, one suggests not using snakes as belts. With their propensity to wiggle and crawl, you don’t want to end up with your pants on the floor. Snakes are best left to themselves.
These particularly happy looking snakes are made with origami using 80gsm paper.

60. The Book of Not Entirely Useful Advice

About the Author: A.F. Harrold is an English poet who writes and performs for adults and children. He spends his time showing off onstage, writing poems and books, and stroking his beard (it helps churn the ideas). He is the author of The Song from Somewhere Else (illustrated by Levi Pinfold), the Fizzlebert Stump series, and the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medal longlisted The Imaginary (illustrated by Emily Gravett). He lives in Reading with a stand-up comedian and two cats.
Connect with him on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
About the Illustrator: Mini Grey studied sequential design at Brighton University before launching her first picture book, Egg Drop, in 2002. Trained in puppet making, set design, welding and carpentry, Grey’s style has an unconventional flare and instantly recognizable quirkiness. Grey has now published thirteen picture books. Amongst numerous nominations and prizes, Grey has won the Smarties Book Award and the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal for The Adventures of the Dish & Spoon.
Connect with her on Twitter.

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*Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link which means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.

One thought on “The Book of Not Entirely Useful Advice by A.F. Harrold | Book Review

  1. Pingback: 2021 and Changing Plans | #BrunchBookChallenge – Aquamarine Flavours

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