TABLE MANNERS by Chris Raschka

TABLE MANNERS

Age Range: 5 - 8

KIRKUS REVIEW

Definitely not your mother’s etiquette book. Two friends, rendered almost always simply as heads, explore the niceties of table manners: Chester, a swoop of blue and green with red smiling mouth and four or five upswept hairs, and Dudunya, a round, bald fellow with big ears and genial smile. Each is rendered in the inimitable style of his creator/alter-ego, Raschka (Little Tree, p. 1210, etc.) and Radunsky (My Dolly, p. 497, etc.), respectively. The friends bop across bright collage backgrounds, presenting the basic rules of polite eating. “But Chester, why a fork and a knife?” asks the clueless Dudunya. Chester patiently explains, “Because it makes you look grown-up, and because a knife makes big things small enough to fit in your mouth.” Accompanying this sage advice is a picture of Dudunya armed with knife and fork and about to carve into a baked potato sectioned like a butcher’s chart. Unfortunately, the design is overdone, with multimedia illustrations and typefaces of varying degrees of urgency vying for the reader’s attention, with frequently dizzying results. Also, this collaboration between two of children’s books’ more exciting artists smacks not a little of self-indulgence, with much of the wit seemingly aimed over the heads of its putative audience: how many American children, for instance, will relate to the concept of elevenses? Still, there is definite kid appeal in the broad humor that allows Chester to illustrate the consequences of neglecting to chew and to deliver the tautological instruction that “napkins are definitely not . . . everything that is not a napkin.” Maybe, just maybe, after reading this, kids will go to a restaurant and remember to sit in their seats “with a nice smile.” (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-7636-1453-X
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Candlewick
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2001




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