Whoopi's Big Book of Manners

Book review by
Patricia Tauzer, Common Sense Media
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Comical, kid-friendly book has fun with manners.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Good manners help kids get along in the company of others.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is book on manners presents the gritty realism of kid behavior and puts a funny spin on it.

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What's the story?

Each page presents a topic and the related rule or rules of etiquette. Comical illustrations present a scenario in which those rules are being broken. In the lower right-hand corner, almost like a mantra, the suggestion that this particular offense (such as interrupting, talking in theaters, bad sportsmanship, or eating with your hands) is not as bad as... (the next bad habit or behavior) drives the reader to turn the page.

Is it any good?

Far from presenting a stiff set of rules, this funny yet instructive book begins and ends with a reference to nose-picking and covers all the gritty ground in between. The theme of WHOOPI'S BIG BOOK OF MANNERS is that knowing how to behave helps us get along in the company of others. This important message is told in language kids will appreciate and understand. Readers familiar with Whoopi Goldberg will hear her voice in its pages, especially in the explanation of the rules, and she sounds friendly -- kids will feel she is on their side.

Goldberg covers some important issues that grandma never mentioned: behavior in theaters, proper times to use a cell phone, and the importance of good sportsmanship. She even shows how manners differ in different societies. A mixed-media presentation of googly-eyed comic-book kids with their googly-eyed pets, friends, and relations act out silly scenes that dramatize the do's and don'ts.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about and practice manners. They might enjoy discussing the manners of different cultures and why different behaviors are acceptable in different places. As each page presents a new scene and a new story, parents can talk with kids about what is going on and why having manners might help the situation. What would happen, for instance, if people really ate like the kids in the pictures? Why does it help to use napkins and utensils rather than our hands? They can discuss how people act at the movies and why it is important to be quiet. And what about sportsmanship? Have spectators, players or coaches ever ruined one of their games with rude behavior? What would have been a better way to act?

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