Chicken Fingers, Mac & Cheese... Why Do You Always Have to Say Please?
In this bare-bones etiquette manual delivered in flat rhyming couplets, a girl and her little brother serve as examples of do's and don'ts as they dine in a fancy restaurant (albeit one that serves chicken fingers and mac and cheese). Predictably, Lily serves as manners exemplar ("Lily has a restaurant voice./ It's never loud or whiney./ She knows how to say 'Thank You,'/ and just where to keep her hiney"). Most of the pointers are directed at the seemingly incorrigible Max and his ilk. A wide range of true-to-life tips, from how sit in a banquette to no whining ("No whining when dining./ it just isn't fair,/ to all of the people who like quiet air) may attest to the credentials of author and illustrator (both mothers) but come off as didactic. The almost schematic ink and grey-wash illustrations and amateurish layout give the book the feel of a home-produced pamphlet; dollops of red color—in Lily's bows, the flowers on the table—only add to this impression. The advice, as presented here, is like nutritious food that fails to ignite children's sensory stimuli. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)