This board book featuring a finger puppet focuses on teaching tots to say “please.”
A smiling bear finger puppet pokes his fuzzy head through the pages of this title, encouraging readers to animate the action. Unfortunately, the storyline is ambiguous at best. Bear goes about his day being rebuked for asking for various things without saying “please”: “Busy Little Bear says, / ‘Can I play with that train?’ // What’s the magic word, Bear? / Now let’s try again!” Suddenly, on the last double-page spread: “Happy Little Bear says/ ‘Thank you everyone. // Now I know the magic word—learning has been fun!’ ” The illustrations show his friends all around him, some of them carrying items he’s asked for along the way. It’s unclear exactly what’s happened here and how Bear’s learned his lesson. Companion volume Thank You is more cohesive and, consequently, successful. In this volume, a little finger-puppet Puppy is celebrating his birthday, and he remembers to say “thank you” to his friends for his gifts, for letting him win some games, for his birthday cake, and for attending his party.
Though a lack of clarity and coherence in Please sabotages the intended lesson, at least Thank You is a solid choice for teaching toddlers to express gratitude. (Board book. 6 mos.-3)