The New York Times
Negotiation between parent and offspring may be out of fashion with child development experts, but don't tell that to parents in the midst of a chicken-nugget-vs.-spinach showdown. Fashioned as a motivational manual ("Have you ever wanted something and didn't get it?" "We feel your pain"), this humorous book shows children how to turn the tables in their favor. "There are very few things in life that you can't get if you ask for them in a rational manner and offer something in return. That's called 'negotiating.'" Watch they don't learn too well.
Giving one of her fictional characters both the narrative voice and lead author credit, Lutz extracts canny principles from her adult novel Trail of the Spellmans (2011) that guide a lad named Sammy in dickering for ice cream and then a pet. Illustrated in large, simply drawn cartoons (some of which are drawn from the same source as the text), the negotiations demonstrate the sort of give-and-take required to reach an accommodation. These are embellished with side notes about managing expectations, sealing the deal ("The phrase 'We'll see' is not binding"), setting realistic goals, the hazards of getting too aggressive and the value of persistence. This last is of particular importance if the chosen pet is, for instance, an elephant. The closing glossary both reinforces previously made guidelines and adds more: "Find out what your mark's weakness is (quiet, candy, wine, elephants) and you've got your negotiation in the bag."
Firmly tongue in cheek, but even less sophisticated readers (and parents) should find these elemental suggestions helpful in getting to yes.
"There are very few things in life that you can't get if you ask for them in a rational manner and offer something in return," asserts Lutz in this story derived from her Spellman books for adults. "Author" David Spellman is a lawyer in that series, and the text and some artwork in this picture book appeared in 2012's Trail of the Spellmans. With a child named Sammy as her example, Lutz shows readers how to eschew tantrums, manage expectations, and move Mom from "No" to "We'll see" (readers are reminded that this phrase is "not binding") to acquiescence. Temairik's digital drawings tend toward the literal, though there are some clever moments (Sammy stands in an ankle-deep pool of tears in his initial tantrum, and various inside jokes and puns are tucked into the art). Lutz ignores her own advice and overreaches for a funny ending (Sammy negotiates his way to the presidency so he can get a pet elephant), but much of what's in these pages hits the right notes of wit, nuance, and sophistication for an audience with a burgeoning sense of confidence.
School Library Journal
"Have you ever begged, cried, or screamed for a special toy or an ice cream cone...or a pair of sneakers with flashing lights? Is the answer always NO? We feel your pain." So begins this tongue-in-cheek guide that promises to let readers in on the secrets of negotiating for what one wants. The irreverent narrative and humorous, expressive digital illustrations provide tips on being calm, rational, and persistent. For example, Mom won't say yes to ice cream before dinner, but you can negotiate a deal to have it after you eat your vegetables. Advice on managing expectations and warnings against overreaching and negotiating too aggressively are included, cautioning readers that they may have to settle for a pet turtle even though they want an elephant. That some things in life are nonnegotiable is illustrated with a spread showing items worth negotiating for (cotton candy, small pets, trips to the zoo) and those that are unrealistic (endangered species, quitting school to join the circus, an all-cotton-candy diet). But "when you grow up, you can take negotiating to a new level," and "items that once seemed impossible to acquire will now be at your fingertips..." even that pet elephant! The amusing glossary defines and illustrates entries such as "long-term strategy" and "weakness." Text and portions of the illustrations were published in Lutz's adult novel Trail of the Spellmans. Sophisticated picture-book readers will relate to the cheeky young protagonist and be entertained by the laughable details depicted in the graphics.
—Rachel Kamin, North Suburban Synagogue Beth El, Highland Park, IL, for School Library Journal