Danger is Everywhere, David O’Doherty and Chris Judge, 2014


Watch out for the page 9 scorpion.

Humor is subjective, based on the skill of the author and the tastes of the reader. For the Laugh Out Loud book challenge (2018 Reading Challenge) I felt a bit of pressure. Do I literally need to laugh out loud? Do chuckles count? Should I give myself a page number limit, like if I haven’t laughed out loud by page 15 I have to start a new book? I wasn’t sure how literally I should take this challenge.

And then I realized, I was already reading a book that made me laugh out loud sincerely and consistently. The only problem… it’s a kid’s book. I read and reread the challenge, and nothing said it couldn’t target the primary school demographic. It’s only criteria seemed to be making me laugh out loud. And, bonus, it tied in perfectly with the anxiety I felt about the challenge.

“Danger is Everywhere”, a manual to help potential dangerologists learn to recognize everyday threaths, is presented by the very nervous and hyper-aware Docter (yes, with an e) Noel Zone, the world’s foremost expert in dangerology (a subject he invented himself). He prides himself on seeing the threat in everyday life like bike riding or sleeping in a bed or toilet sharks and shares his wisdom with us PODs (Pupils of Dangerology).

Complete with helpful abbreviations like T-COD (Tiny Cape of Dangerology) and POWDMB (Pointing Out Where Danger Might Be) Dr. Noel Zone sheds light on the unknown dangers lurking in our everyday lives. Like the piano walrus and mailbox octopi. But the book isn’t just about POWDMBing. It offers helpful solutions. Did you know if you find yourself face to face with a polar bear the best thing to do is not run or play dead, but rather amaze him with a card trick?

At the end of the book there’s the DETBAFOD (Dangerology Examination To Become a Full-On Dangerologist) that, when passed, will bestow the reader the title of Full on Dangerologist (Level 1).

Like all great kids’ books, it has high levels of absurdity and goofiness. While it’s written as a handbook, the format feels a lot like the slew of “diaries” out there for tweens like Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Dork Diaries. As a graphic novel, there are tons of illustrations so even reluctant readers might find the 240 pages at least tolerable if not enjoyable. And best of all, it’s a great read for the entire family, something that doesn’t always happen in the world of kids’ lit. Believe me, I’ve sat through some eye-rollingly bad kids books. When one can make everyone dissolve into laughter, it’s a winner.