An Australian import tackles manners for the very young.
A little girl takes her stuffed cat and rabbit, along with her pet hedgehog, on an idyllic picnic. Each double-page spread sets up a statement or question (“Would you like to hold my hand?") that advances the day's events with an accompanied, expected answer ("Yes, please!"). Brief phrases in direct, appropriate language serve each natural page turn. Though the "Yes, please!" response never changes, the toys and youngster take turns directing and accepting requests. A soft sweetness—there's no hint of saccharine—nurtures the child's maturing independence as she organizes the festivities with absolutely no adult involvement (or any conflict to be seen). Respectful conversations between the preschooler and her friends appear fresh and unforced. The playthings' full-force involvement sets the creative stage; her dressed pals rifle through the basket, nibble on sandwiches and dip their toes in the water. Minimal backgrounds and pastel borders keep the focus on the action at hand. Slight alterations to facial expressions highlight a quiet reflection. A companion piece, I Can Say Thank You, follows a similar route as the friends explore their surroundings.A wholesome, pleasant demonstration of politeness for toddlers just discovering the joys of imaginative play. (Picture book. 1-3)