Don't Forget Your Etiquette!: The Essential Guide to Misbehavior
David Greenberg & Nadine Bernard Westcott
Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2006 (2006)
Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch
his 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.
hough 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
And if you die
(Which happens quite often)
A well behaved child
Lies still in her coffin.
ere'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!"
ome 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.
ny writer who can rhyme
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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