MR. TANEN'S TIES by Maryann Cocca-Leffler


Age Range: 5 - 8
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The importance of accessorizing is given an injection of humor in this story from Cocca-Leffler (illustrator of Michelle Poploff’s Tea Party for Two, 1997, etc.). Mr. Tanen, the school principal, allows his ties (similar to Ms. Frizzle’s dresses and earrings) to speak for him; they serve as weather forecasts, herald the lunch menu, bespeak special occasions. The students love his ties for their whimsy and good cheer, as well as for the information they impart. But Mr. Tanen’s boss, the sour Mr. Apple, orders that the neckwear be ditched; it’s distracting and frivolous. Mr. Tanen, understandably, has to take a few days off. Mr. Apple is called to substitute, and the children attempt to bevel his hard edges with a zany tie of his own. He becomes a changed man; in fact, he marries a woman who has been admiring the ties he borrows from Mr. Tanen’s cache. Cocca-Leffler shows Mr. Tanen for the gentleman he is, and makes the realm of adults a lot less formidable, and a lot more eccentric. Children will admire the ties, the wildly patterned illustrations, and the message that clothes may not make the man, but may make the day a little bit brighter. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-8075-5301-8
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Whitman
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1999