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SOMEDAY WE’LL HAVE VERY GOOD MANNERS by Harriet Ziefert

SOMEDAY WE’LL HAVE VERY GOOD MANNERS

By Harriet Ziefert (Author) , Chris Demarest (Illustrator)

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-399-23558-2
Publisher: Putnam

An etiquette guide for the very young—with an ironic twist. A brother/sister duo solemnly declares their intent to exhibit exemplary manners as they mature. The siblings’ catalogue of social niceties runs the gamut: saying please and thank you; proper table manners; playground rules; and telephone behavior. Ziefert (Hats Off for the Fourth of July, p. 642, etc.) reveals a keen understanding of children’s penchant for the unvarnished truth; including in her gentle admonishments the idea of graciously accepting a gift, whether it’s wanted or not. However, lest adults think this is a tale of pattern-card perfect conduct for little ones, a quick peek at Demarest’s uproarious watercolor illustrations and the attendant captions will rapidly upend that misguided notion. Beneath each dictate is an illustration that portrays a reality far removed from the purported ideal. For example, the demure statement “I’ll put a napkin in my lap. And I’ll use it!” is accompanied by a picture depicting the young boy vigorously blowing his nose into his napkin at the dinner table. Demarest’s celebration of youthful social solecisms is right on target, destined to evoke groans (or guffaws) from adults and sheepish giggles from kids. The framed artwork, with vivid hues and oversized format, is the focal point of each page and terrific for sharing in a group setting. The deadpan delivery of Ziefert’s pragmatic text, combined with Demarest’s waggish illustrations, makes for a raucously funny tale and a rambunctious read-aloud. (Picture book. 4-8)