Stoo Hample's Book of Bad Manners

Stoo Hample, Author Candlewick Press (MA) $15.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7636-2933-5
The author of The Silly Book (originally published in 1961) moves from the nonsensical to the comically coarse in this kid-friendly paper-over-board cataloguing of the rude and crude. Hample creates a cartoon character for each of the 20 offenses (for example, the Sloppy Sneezer, the Soup Slurper); all are pictured in a ""Bad Manners Hall of Shame"" on the endpapers. The book's benign beginning features this motley crew posing as if for a group picture. ""The gang I drew here/ Looks nice, don't you think?/ But despite their sweet smiles,/ They have manners that stink."" In subsequent pages, each character's title appears at the top in a typeface resembling a Wild West wanted poster, followed by a short poem and a drawing or two. The spare ink cartoons, in a limited palette of brown-grays, pale yellows and reds, often include a small vignette of the artist at his drawing board or reacting to the scene (e.g., he's keels over in response to ""Stinker"": ""This angel-faced girl/ Thinks it's funny and smart/ To smile and secretly/ Fluff out a fart""). The verses unfortunately seem a bit forced at times. Consequences get fanciful treatment (e.g., a greedy boy's parents prepare to send him by rocket to the moon), although the final poem asks for self-reflection, warning readers that they could end up in the author's next book. Some adults might be left scratching their heads as to the book's point, but this registry of the uncouth will likely score points with those at the potty humor stage. All ages.
Reviewed on: 09/04/2006
Release date: 09/01/2006
Genre: Children's
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