Seven Rules You Absolutely Must Not Break if You Want To Survive the Cafeteria

illus. by Michael Allen Austin. 32p. Clarion. Jun. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780544699519.
Gr 1–4—The award-winning team behind Ten Rules You Absolutely Must Not Break if You Want To Survive the School Bus pen another cautionary tale. The same young protagonist who survived the school bus is minding his own business when his bossy friend Ginny gives him strict guidelines on traversing the dreaded cafeteria. The rules are fairly straightforward and hold such time tested tenets as "Don't hold up the line" and "Never aggravate the lunch lady." Since he is reading a book on insects while she lectures him, all of the rules Ginny recite morph into a sort of insect-themed horror story. For instance, sixth graders are as "scary as a swarm of yellow jackets" and the school bully is portrayed as a giant meat-eating water bug. Of course, the boy does everything wrong but still manages to make it through the lunch hour in one piece. He concludes that the best advice is not to listen to Ginny ever again. Filled with engaging and sweeping illustrations done in acrylics, the pictures are engrossing and bring life to an otherwise verbose and confusing tale. The bug rift is intriguing but unfortunately muddles this lengthy and rambling story.
VERDICT An optional purchase for those who have a strong fan base for the first book.

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