If you've ever wondered whether carrots improve your vision (they do) and why elephants have great memories, consult A Word to the Wise. You'll discover that it's never too late to learn from a proverb or an old wives' tale. This captivating book is a fascinating compilation of age-old expressions and customs, and its insights cover everything from health tips and kitchen tricks to gardening know-how and hints for predicting the weather. Folklorist Ruth Binney explains the truth behind such traditions as polishing windows with newspaper and blowing out birthday candles in a single breath. She also discusses whether classic adages are still relevant or, like eating oysters only in "R" months, their truths have faded with the passage of time. This charmingly illustrated volume of enduring wisdom makes a splendid keepsake as well as a fine gift.