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'Please Say Please!' and
'Don't Slurp Your Soup!'    
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[JULY 28, 2004]  "Please Say Please! A Penguin's Guide to Manners," by Margery Cuyler, illustrated by Will Hillenbrand, Scholastic Press, 29 pages, ages 2-6

"Don't Slurp Your Soup! A First Guide to Letter Writing, E-mail Etiquette, and Other Everyday Manners," by Lynne Gibbs, illustrated by John Eastwood, McGraw-Hill Children's Publishing, 24 pages, ages 6-9

Reviews by Marlene Perry

Good manners are a lost art in today's world, right? Are you unsure how to introduce the idea of table manners to your toddler? Does your grade school child know how to introduce friends properly or write a party invitation? These two books could help your children in any of these situations.

"Please Say Please!" is the story of animal friends invited to Penguin's house for dinner. Hippo, giraffe, monkey and elephant are just a few of the diners.

Penguin's guests learn proper etiquette with simple examples and the repetition that toddlers love. This book explores situations that range from greeting Penguin at the door, washing before the meal and being served food they don't like to talking with a full mouth, burping and asking to be excused from the table.

The simple illustrations show the animal committing the faux pas, with the question "Is that right?" on each page. Turn the page and read, "No, that's wrong," followed by the correct example. Toddlers will love the repetition and will probably join you in the fun after a few pages.

Of course the dinner ends with the animal friends showing their good manners with a "Thanks for dinner. We had a great time!" at Penguin's door.

I'm certain that Penguin will invite his friends back for another visit, because they have learned such good manners for the dinner table. Your toddler may (or may not) learn something about table manners too but will certainly enjoy hearing about Penguin's friends.


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Early grade-schoolers will be dealing with more than just table manners in their daily lives. "Don't Slurp Your Soup!" is set up in chapter style, but each category takes only two pages to cover the subject so it doesn't overload with "rules."

Starting with a general explanation of what good manners are and the benefits of using them, "Don't Slurp Your Soup!" discusses introducing friends, being a good sport and using party manners (whether giving or attending a party). The guidelines are short and to the point, with a wrap-up box for each category listing the "Ultimate NO-NOs" that no kid would want to be caught doing.

The book also includes discussion on the sometimes overlooked art of letter writing, as well as etiquette on kids' newest crazes of e-mailing and cell phone usage. Of course each page has colorful illustrations of the specified dos and don'ts to reinforce the text. Lest you think that grade-schoolers are past learning anything about table manners, there is a page illustrating what to do about sticky fingers, napkins and the dreaded utensil confusion.

"Don't Slurp Your Soup!" wraps up with this wisdom: "No matter how bright or funny you are, if you do not know how to behave properly, most people will remember your bad manners!"

These books and more can be found in the Youth Services Department of Lincoln Public Library. Visit us at 725 Pekin St. or call (217) 732-5732.

[Marlene Perry, Lincoln Public Library District]

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