A playful guide to etiquette

MIND YOUR MANNERS

A bevy of animals demonstrates how good manners can help everyone get along.

Rhyming text leads readers through spreads depicting all sorts of creatures living in a not-so-peaceable kingdom until they adopt polite behaviors that make for greater conviviality. The animals are slightly anthropomorphized, and their cohabitation in a forest eschews any semblance of natural habitats, with red foxes, rhinos, pandas, parrots, and others all living together. The focus is not on depicting natural science but on using those animals as stand-ins for real human interactions. An early, representative spread reads, “Now no one likes mean, greedy grabbers. / I’m sure everybody agrees. / You won’t get far being a snatcher, / Polite pandas always say ‘please!’ ” The accompanying illustrations show two pandas in a tug of war over a stalk of bamboo at the top of the page, with a picture below showing one instead offering it like an olive branch to the other. Ensuing spreads encourage polite words such as “please,” “thank you,” “excuse me,” and “sorry,” as well as considerate behaviors that include respecting others’ personal space, avoiding crude language, never littering, and using good table manners. Throughout, there’s mild humor in depictions of misdeeds and comfort in resolutions showing the animals all interacting nicely with each other.

A playful guide to etiquette . (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-61067-811-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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Though this celebration of community is joyful, there just is not much here.

ONE LOVE

A sugary poem, very loosely based on the familiar song, lacks focus.

Using only the refrain from the original (“One love, one heart, let’s get together and feel all right!”), the reggae great’s daughter Cedella Marley sees this song as her “happy song” and adapts it for children. However, the adaptation robs it of life. After the opening lines, readers familiar with the original song (or the tourism advertisement for Jamaica) will be humming along only to be stopped by the bland lines that follow: “One love, what the flower gives the bee.” and then “One love, what Mother Earth gives the tree.” Brantley-Newton’s sunny illustrations perfectly reflect the saccharine quality of the text. Starting at the beginning of the day, readers see a little girl first in bed, under a photograph of Bob Marley, the sun streaming into her room, a bird at the window. Each spread is completely redundant—when the text is about family love, the illustration actually shows little hearts floating from her parents to the little girl. An image of a diverse group getting ready to plant a community garden, walking on top of a river accompanies the words “One love, like the river runs to the sea.”

Though this celebration of community is joyful, there just is not much here. (afterword) (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0224-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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PRINCESSES WEAR PANTS

This book wants to be feminist.

Princess Penelope Pineapple, illustrated as a white girl with dark hair and eyes, is the Amelia Bloomer of the Pineapple Kingdom. She has dresses, but she prefers to wear pants as she engages in myriad activities ranging from yoga to gardening, from piloting a plane to hosting a science fair. When it’s time for the Pineapple Ball, she imagines wearing a sparkly pants outfit, but she worries about Grand Lady Busyboots’ disapproval: “ ‘Pants have no place on a lady!’ she’d say. / ‘That’s how it has been, and that’s how it shall stay.’ ” In a moment of seeming dissonance between the text and art, Penny seems to resolve to wear pants, but then she shows up to the ball in a gown. This apparent contradiction is resolved when the family cat, Miss Fussywiggles, falls from the castle into the moat and Princess Penelope saves her—after stripping off her gown to reveal pink, flowered swimming trunks and a matching top. Impressed, Grand Lady Busyboots resolves that princesses can henceforth wear whatever they wish. While seeing a princess as savior rather than damsel in distress may still seem novel, it seems a stretch to cast pants-wearing as a broadly contested contemporary American feminist issue. Guthrie and Oppenheim’s unimaginative, singsong rhyme is matched in subtlety by Byrne’s bright illustrations.

Skip it . (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2603-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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