Kids get a comical crash course in understanding adults in new book

There isn't anything in your neighborhood that you don't notice.

You've got a keen eye for observation, so you've seen it all: the kid who steals from his neighbor's apple tree, the girl who takes her bike helmet off when her mom's not looking, the teenager who's always late for everything.

Mostly, though, you like to watch grown-ups because they're interesting and because, well, someday, you'll be a grown-up, too. And in the new book "Kid Confidential" by Monte Montgomery, illustrated by Patricia Storms, you'll get a little help with your observations.

Okay, let's just get this out in the open: grown-ups are weird.

They act strange, they require senseless clothing, they worry unnecessarily and they're always saying dumb things. They usually act like they own the place, which, actually, they do. And that's why you should learn as much as possible about these strange creatures.

The first thing to understand is that grown-ups have a lot more in common with you than you probably think.

Grown-ups were kids once, of course, and they still like some of the things they liked way back when. Most of them still like chocolate, sunshine and puppies. They like the thunk of a ball against a bat and the smell of baking bread.

The differences between you are pretty plain, though.

For instance, grown-ups consume weird things like Parmesan cheese and coffee. They make goofy sounds like "oof" and "urp." They're always forgetting the easiest things to remember and they think that "time flies" when any kid knows the opposite is true. And sometimes, it's hard to understand them because they use big words that they think make them sound important.

And another thing: adults are everywhere! You don't just have them at home - they're at school, too.

So what's a kid like you to do?

Like any good scientist, you'll want to observe grown-ups in their natural habitat, like spying on them at parties and in the classroom. You'll want to experiment with their language and mess with their minds. You'll need to know the Three Universal Truths to get along with them.

And finally, be nice to them. They have all the money, you know.

Parents, you squint a little, you can recall what it was like to be a kid. Remember how adults seemed to be another species? It's the same way for your kids but fortunately, "Kid Confidential" will give them the help you never had.

With lots of informative sidebars and plenty of tips they can use, Montgomery turns the average child into a sharp observer of Adulticus bossiness, which is a skill every upper grade-schooler needs. Montgomery also offers a handy guide to the various kinds of grown-ups kids might see, as well as several language charts for easy communication. As a former kid myself, I also liked the hilarious illustrations.

If you're facing a long summer with potential boredom, squash it right now with this essential guide. "Kid Confidential" is a book any 7- to 12-year-old kid will notice.

View publishes Terri Schlichenmeyer's children's book reviews weekly.