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MIND YOUR MANNERS, ALICE ROOSEVELT! by Leslie Kimmelman

MIND YOUR MANNERS, ALICE ROOSEVELT!

By Leslie Kimmelman (Author) , Adam Gustavson (Illustrator)

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-56145-492-1
Publisher: Peachtree

Despite the title, Kimmelman’s book focuses primarily on Theodore Roosevelt and his achievements—as a frail child, a Rough Rider, governor, vice president and president—instead of his lively eldest child, Alice. While some of her exploits, particularly those involving her pet snake, Emily Spinach, are taken from history, others, such as Alice riding a pig or throwing a tantrum, are generic and possibly fictional. Shown one-dimensionally, Alice’s antics come across as those of a spoiled child, and the ending—Alice getting married so “[h]er father didn’t have to handle her anymore”—imparts a strange message of masculine control. No mention is made of the diplomatic trips Alice managed adroitly on her father’s behalf or of her lifelong, intelligent passion for politics. Gustavson’s action-filled paintings show the First Family from many interesting perspectives but don’t contribute to plot or tension. Barbara Kerley and Edwin Fotheringham’s Sibert Honor–winning What To Do About Alice? (2008) is the better choice. (Picture book. 5-8)