Saturday, March 20, 2010

Manners and Math

Two picture books on the list are The Lion's Share, by Matthew McElligott, and Nobunny's Perfect, by Anna Dewdney.

The Lion's Share takes place at a dinner party given by Lion. Ant is invited for the first time and she is certain to be on her best manners. She is shocked at the behavior of the other guests, as each proves to be more rude and uncouth than the last. When it is time for dessert, the other animals' greed in each taking half of what's left after the others have gone before leaves her with nothing but a crumb to share with her host. Not wishing to appear ungrateful or rude, she offers to bake the Lion a cake of his own for the morrow. He graciously accepts, and the other animals decide that Ant is trying to make them look bad, so they each offer to make twice as many cakes as the animal before them. They wind up looking very foolish. The illustrations in this book are softly drawn and boldly colored. The expressions on the animals' faces clearly express their discontent and greed. A good book for sparking discussions of manners (and math!)

Nobunny's Perfect is a rhyming book in which gently drawn, round-faced bunnies are shown playing and eating. They begin nicely, but their behavior breaks down as one after the other is made sad or mad by circumstance or other bunnies. The text points out each bad behavior and in the middle of the book says, "Nobunny's perfect,/that is true--/but aren't you glad/this isn't YOU?" The author then goes on to show how one should behave with others. A cute book, but not very subtle. Definitely for pre-schoolers.

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