cover image Blurp’s Book of Manners

Blurp’s Book of Manners

Cindy Derby. Roaring Brook, $18.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-2508-1035-9

As this picture book kicks off, Elizabeth Picklepop IV, a teal-skinned, exorbitantly spectacled doyenne of manners, begins to school readers in the key rules of etiquette. “I will be watching each and every one of you VERY closely. So pay attention,” she says, the saucer-like lens of her glasses emitting a bright white glare. But her steely gentility slowly crumbles after she spills a bottle of blue ink, and the resulting stain immediately comes to life. With eager, googly eyes and single-tooth smile, Blurp belches exuberantly, spewing color everywhere and gazing at Ms. Picklepop with an acolyte’s devotion. Digitally collaged, panel-framed vignettes chronicle Ms. Picklepop’s subsequent attempts to continue her lesson while ignoring Blurp, who changes hues by consuming more pots of ink, eats a snooty cat (later regurgitated), turns itself into a whoopie cushion, and burps in multiple colors. “ENOUGH!!! You are RUINING everything!!!” Ms. Picklepop finally shouts, before realizing that she has violated etiquette’s cardinal rule: consideration of others. Derby (How to Have a Birthday) breathes fresh air into familiar comedy tropes and “practice kindness” messaging, while anchoring the book’s unleashed sense of color and character in a core truth: there is nothing more wonderful than being treated with respect. Ages 3–6. Agent: Jennifer Laughran, Andrea Brown Literary. (Dec.)