Book Review: The Book of Not Entirely Useful Advice

Written by A.F. Harrold, Illustrated by Mini Grey

By Amanda Elshahawi, Creator, Enchanted Literacy May 2, 2023

Recommended Ages 6 - 12 years

“Don’t put mustard on dogs, no matter how hot they look, unless you know the dog very well beforehand.” A book of life advice that a child may, or may not find useful, but definitely find entertaining. Humor fills the pages from cover to cover, and details in the illustrations pair with the poems in a way that pulls you in and keeps you flipping. An illustrated version of the author and a cute little mouse can be discovered on most pages guiding the reader to dive into each silly scenario.  

Split up into four sections, Harrold gives advice on 1) food, ducks and dessert 2) animals, giants and the natural world 3) school life, onions and general-knowledge-type stuff 4) advice mainly relating to the human condition, dreams, and miscellaneous other subjects.  

Other advice such as how to avoid a giant who has escaped from a nearby fairy tale, or advice for the nervous. Such as; “If you’re worried a lion is going to eat you, don’t go to a place where a lion might meet you.”

This fun collection of poetry is a great read for evening laughter, weekend reading or to bring along on your next trip. There are a few places throughout the book that invites the reader to interact by drawing or writing their own interpretations and thinking of their own advice with light prompts. I recommend it for ages 4 and up but the sweet mark will be your 6 - 11 year olds who embrace the silly and can read it on their own.

Amanda is a preschool teacher, mother and avid Central Park picnicker. She values community and is an advocate for families in the foster care system. One day she hopes to publish a children's book of her own. In the meantime, you can follow her Instagram, Enchanted Literacy, which encourages imagination and passion for reading.