“I want….I want…!” Caregivers who find these words all too familiar may find this etiquette book useful.
There are two main characters—a pigtailed little girl and a prim, mustachioed gentleman in an orange tuxedo (is he her father, a genie, or a random gentleman on the street, readers may wonder); both are depicted with paper-white skin. In every scene, the girl is corrected when she yells, “I want….I want…!” She learns that if she asks nicely and says “please,” she’ll get what she wants—and more! “Please say ‘please.’ and you’ll brighten my day. / But if you say, ‘I WANT,’ I’ll just walk away,” the gentleman says. When the girl’s politely worded request for a giant is rewarded, the tables are turned. “I want to PLAY!” screams the giant. “WAIT! Please say ‘please,’ and you might get your way,” she replies as his foot hovers over her head. Speech bubbles and bold, bright brush strokes evoke the comic strips of yesteryear, while the dialogue-only rhyming text sets a brisk pace. Overall, the story has admirable objectives, but it could mislead. “Please say ‘please’ and I’ll grant any wish,” may give kids the impression that just as long as they say “please,” they’ll get anything and everything they want, a misconception bound to lead to disappointment.
A didactic lesson couched in humor and fantasy, it will delight young children, but it’s anyone’s guess they’ll learn the lesson intended. (Picture book. 3-6)