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Don't Forget Your Etiquette!: The Essential Guide to Misbehavior    by David Greenberg & Nadine Bernard Westcott order for
Don't Forget Your Etiquette!
by David Greenberg
Order:  USA  Can
Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2006 (2006)
*   Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch

This picture book features a narrator by the name of Miss Information, who attempts to teach children the rules of misbehavior in a series of illustrated vignettes. She counsels children on how to act in various life situations - such as how to dress, answer the phone, and babysitter etiquette.

Though I realize the book is intended to be a humorous parody of etiquette rules, I found some parts downright morbid, and apt to frighten a younger child. For example, on the section entitled The Etiquette of Sitting, Miss Information guides children in the art of sitting still: 

'You must not breathe,
So hold your breath
Even if this
Causes death.

And if you die
(Which happens quite often)
A well behaved child
Lies still in her coffin.

Here's another example from The Etiquette of Quiet Places (meaning how to behave in museums, libraries and funeral parlors):

'Basically, shut up
At least that's my belief.
Make yourself as quiet
As a gently falling leaf.

Then folks will think you're dead -
They'll contact 9-1-1.
Does the child have a heartbeat?
The frantic answer: "None"

Your saviors will rush in
More raucous than a riot
And that's when you should stand
And loudly holler, "QUIET!"

Some of the poems are pretty creative, though, including the first section called Miss Information Speaks Her Mind:

'So if you’re smart, you'll read my book
Of modern children's etiquette.
If you don't, I'm sad to say -
Your life will be pathetiquette.

Any writer who can rhyme etiquette certainly is not short on talent. Nonetheless, while the title drew me in, and certainly some older children will find it amusing, it did not strike me as a particularly appealing children's book. A saving grace is Westcott's delightful, cartoonish illustrations, full of vivacious detail and lively action scenes.

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