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One move to America, one surprise pregnancy and a lot of fun later.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Good Manners for Very Young Children with Rio the Rat by John C. Lister

Good Manners for Very Young Children with Rio the Rat

 As required by FTC, I received a complimentary copy of Good Manners for Very Young Children with Rio the Rat by John C. Lister as a member of the Dorrance Publishing Book Review Team.  Visit dorrancebookstore.com to learn how you can become a member of the Book Review Team.

Rio is a little rat...a river rat to be exact. He lives in a very human world; that is to say, he can't always do things his own way!
Rio's mom has taught him well; His manners are very good, do tell.
He is very different to be sure, to be a rat in this world, there is no cure.
But a good little rat he is (and that is that!), a very well-mannered river rat.

What a great idea for a children's book.  Manners nowadays in children (and a lot of adults) are as rare as hen's teeth, in my opinion.  When I saw this book available for review on the Dorrance website, I thought it would be perfect to help me teach my two year old some basic courtesy and manners.

The concept of the stories are great, teaching your child that you will be liked more and nicer to be around if you are well mannered.  The chapter headings and topics are very useful, in case you are having a problem in one particular area with your child then you can just read that short chapter (although each is so short that you can read the whole book through as a bedtime story). 

My daughter sat and listened to the whole book as a bedtime story on a couple of occasions and, hopefully, absorbed the basic premiss of the messages, time will tell on that!  So, I guess, the book is doing what it's main purpose is by keeping her attention and teaching her manners but I had some issues with it. 

The Font that is used in the title and in each of the Chapter headings, which I think is Kristen ITC, annoys the hell out of me.  I have seen this font used in several children's books, not sure why but perhaps they think it looks like a child's writing.  Whatever the reasoning behind the use of this font, it is one I just do not like.  I was very grateful that the actual chapter writing was in something plainer and different.

The author had tried to rhyme each chapter and somehow it just didn't work.  This was a combination of the actual rhymes being very poor and the actual layout of the lines on the page.  The writing skipped to another line making you read it with a different lilt and accent that made the rhymes that existed just not actually work.  Some of them were very dubious and made me have to repeat what I was reading to get the rhythm of the words.   I think the stories would have worked better without the rhymes at all.  

There was an overuse of parenthesis  (and I know I am very guilty of overusing parenthesis in my writing) that was too much for a children's book.  Keep it a lot simpler for the target audience.

To end on a positive note.  The illustrations were very sweet and were liked by my two year old, which allowed for some other learning points as we were going through the book.  I think there could be some mileage in the character of Rio the Rat for further books just with better execution. 

So 3 out of 5 for the premiss and character but it's no De Civilitate Morum Puerilium Libellus
by Desiderius Erasmus! 


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