THE BOOK

"Seymour's Weight Loss Challenge!" (Health New England, with coloring book and workbook, $9.95) encourages children to keep their weight down by eating right and exercising. With childhood obesity rising at an alarming rate, weight management is no longer a problem just for adults.

THE AUTHORS

The publisher has a vested interest in getting kids to slim down. Health New England is a health maintenance organization in Massachusetts and Connecticut. If children follow the book's advice and lose weight, they won't just be healthier, they'll be cheaper to insure.

THE GOOD

The kit's colorful pictures and simple message will catch kids' attention. Throughout the book, the authors slip in tips about how to stay healthy. Our hero, Seymour, transforms himself from a couch potato to a bicycling and hiking fan. He also succeeds at a feat that challenges many adults: choosing fruit and vegetables over ice cream.

THE BAD

It's hard to imagine kids connecting with characters who spout such lines as, "Oh, I love to ride bikes! It's great exercise . . . and I always wear a helmet!" Or, as one child advises another, "If we take the pizza, we should balance it out with fruit salad or veggie sticks."

BOTTOM LINE

The idea is good: Getting kids to eat healthier and move more may take more than parental admonitions. But the execution is a bit weak. The book contains phrases that border on jargon and concepts that children may not embrace, such as counting food servings and reading ingredient labels.