cover image Mind Your Manners, Alice Roosevelt!

Mind Your Manners, Alice Roosevelt!

Leslie Kimmelman, , illus. by Adam Gustavson. . Peachtree, $16.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-56145-492-1

Kimmelman's (Everybody Bonjours! ) picture-book biography of Teddy Roosevelt's daughter is as much about her father's accomplishments as it is about Alice's unruly behavior. The conversational narrative emphasizes that soldier, diplomat and politician Roosevelt “could handle almost anything,” be it governing the U.S. or international diplomacy. “But,” reads the book's repeated refrain, “Teddy Roosevelt didn't always know how to handle his oldest daughter, Alice,” who is shown jumping on the sofa, riding a pig and driving a speeding automobile. Speech balloons present Roosevelt's repeated admonishments of his rambunctious offspring, and the typeface is sometimes creatively arranged, as when it snakes across the page in a passage about Alice's pet snake. Gustavson (The Yankee at the Seder ) adeptly captures the young woman's shenanigans—and her irrepressible spirit—in lifelike oil paintings that range from spot art to full-spread scenes and include some inventive perspectives. One scene shows her happily perched on a rooftop with a teacup and umbrella, and a view from above later spotlights the havoc the escaped snake creates in the White House. A lively, fictionalized portrait of a very independent girl. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)