Dear Aunt Debbie,
A propos of our conversation on "lesson
books" (here and here), a friend recently recommended a couple of books by
Aliki, which I checked out of the library.
Manners and Feelings are an interesting hybrid of
playful and didactic. Each book is a series of
unconnected episodes riffing on the theme of the title, and rendered in Aliki's
wonderful cartoon drawings.
The drawings are of a racially diverse group of
kids (somewhat more so in Manners than in Feelings), enacting the ideas on each page. A pair of birds provide commentary at the top and bottom margins of each page, which is
both cute and serves as an invitation for the kid reading to comment on the action as well. These are great books for parents and children to talk through.
In Feelings, many of the pages simply evoke or illustrate a feeling or feelings you might have in a certain situation:
In Manners, more of the episodes are cast as
lessons, and tell a brief story:
So far, this hasn't resulted in her co-opting the most interesting new insulting phrases and using them on her sister, though I'm on the lookout. I've found myself referencing episodes as well, so that it's not just me, but also Aliki encouraging them not to pick their noses or grab toys from each other. (Thanks, Aliki!) There's a richness to the varied format that holds up well on repeated readings, and keeps everyone engaged.