cover image Manners


Aliki. Greenwillow Books, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-688-09198-9

This popular and prolific author-artist here examines an important topic for children--good manners: how to achieve them and how to maintain them. Every page brims with etiquette tips, expressed by small-sized figures drawn in Aliki's customarily cheery style. If there is a problem here, it is one of excess: the dos and don'ts fly by so thick and fast that readers may have difficulty grasping them. A lack of organization may further confuse the book's users. The subjects are broached in no discernible order, and text is presented willy-nilly in captions under pictures and in cartoon-style balloons. One page bears the heading ``Ouch,'' and depicts two girls strolling down the street as another girl approaches. The copy above the picture reads, ``Here comes Alexa. / Let's ignore her,'' while two tiny birds below--they and several animal friends make pertinent and impertinent asides throughout--say ``bad manners and bad feelings'' and ``Is Alexa going to go home and cry?'' Cause and effect seem to be missing here, and the main issue glossed over. Though certainly well-intentioned, this book may prove more chaotic than constructive. Ages 5-up. (Oct.)