cover image Mealtime


Elizabeth Verdick, illus. by Marieka Heinlen. Free Spirit, $7.95 (24p) ISBN 978-1-57542-366-1

This cheerful guide to table etiquette, ninth in the Toddler Tools series, features four children in a day-care–type setting who demonstrate good mealtime behavior under the encouragement of an adult caretaker: "Some for me, and some for you—/ don't forget a ‘Thank you.' " Heinlen creates contrast and dimension with eye-catching patterns on wallpaper, dishes, and the characters' clothing. The affirming message about trying at least "one bite," using a napkin, and clearing your plate should sit easily with readers, while appended advice for parents underscores the instructional aspect of the book. Ages 2–8. (Apr.)