Cover image for People don't bite people
People don't bite people

People do not bite people
People don't bite people
First edition.
Publisher Info:
New York, New York : Atheneum books for young readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division, [2018]
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 27 cm
Illustrations and rhyming text urge children to use their teeth for biting food, not their friends or relatives.
Added Author:


Call Number
Material Type
E WHEE New or Popular Picture Book
E WHEELER, L. New or Popular Picture Book

On Order



Lisa Wheeler and Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator Molly Idle remind overeager little biters that biting is for food in this hysterical read-aloud picture book. Learning good behavior has never been so fun!

It's good to bite a carrot.
It's good to bite a steak.
It's bad to bite your sister!
She's not a piece of cake.

People don't bite people!
That's what this book's about.
So if you find
you're tooth-inclined--
you'd better check it out!

Reviews 3

School Library Journal Review

PreS-K-This instructional book about biting goes above and beyond a basic lesson with its cheeky rhymes and bright, over-the-top illustrations. Wheeler writes in precise rhythmic rhyming verse, informing readers what things are good and bad to bite, in a style reminiscent of Jane Yolen's "Dinosaurs" series. The refrain features the titular "People don't bite people" and always ends with "biting is for food." The suggestions appeal to common sense, reminding children that they are not wild animals, and giving the characters the opportunity to right their behavior, by politely chewing a piece of pizza rather than gnawing on their mother, for example. Caldecott honoree Idle's wide-eyed, retro children jump off the page with ultra bright pastels done in Prismacolor pencils and expressions as sweet as the foods that adorn the cover page. Adults and children alike will appreciate the humor in both the text and illustrations, an element which is often missing in didactic works, from the up-close views of teeth and tongues on the endpapers, to the twist ending featuring gingerbread people (the one exception to the title's rule). VERDICT This book is sure to elicit giggles from group read-alouds or one-on-one sharing. Add to any collection in need of a wildly entertaining title that addresses a common childhood issue.-Clara Hendricks, Cambridge Public Library, MA © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

In a combination of listicle, admonishment, and pep talk, the well-matched Wheeler (Babies Can Sleep Anywhere) and Idle (the Flora books) remind children that they are too long in the tooth, so to speak, to be chomping on others: "Puppies bite and babies bite./ They're much too young to know./ But you grow bigger every day/ and know where teeth should go." Wheeler's four-line stanzas deploy repetition and rhythm for maximum percussive punch ("It's good to bite a carrot./ It's good to bite a steak./ It's bad to bite your sister!/ She's not a piece of cake"). Idle's pert, radiant pictures alternate between neatly divided worksheet-style grids (which correspond to the bitable and nonbitable items and people mentioned in the verse) and blithe vignettes: one mother fends off her little one by wielding a kitchen chair like a lion-tamer. The aesthetic is reminiscent of 1960s educational films, with every character exuding comic, pedagogical earnestness. Whether readers are biters, bite-ees, or witnesses to a biting incident, they'll find this a toothsome treat. Ages 4-8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Say it with me! this chipper book prompts, People don't bite people. / You're not a zombie, dude! / A friend will never bite a friend. / BITING IS FOR FOOD! Paired with a neatly drawn cast of doll-like animals and human figures in Caldecott honoree Idle's (Flora and the Flamingo, 2013) spacious, harmoniously hued illustrations, Wheeler's (Even Monsters Need to Sleep, 2017) infectiously exclamatory rhymes present her anti-biting message with lighthearted but compelling persistence. Along with devoting individual verses to each parent as well as brothers, sisters, friends, and grown-ups in general, she notes that babies, at least, just don't know any better, appeals to her audience's yen for self-determination (What you chew is up to you!), and suggests that teeth are great for shining up your smile! Her observation that some people chew their hair or fingernails but it's gross to bite the skin you're in offers an additional notion that's rarely, if ever, covered in titles addressing dentally aggressive behaviors. After all the don'ts here, the author closes with a definite do involving people who happen to be made of gingerbread. A chewy theme for children with biting issues, and a rollicking read-aloud for all.--Peters, John Copyright 2018 Booklist