In How Mannerland Got Its Manners Back, Kevin D. Janison tells of how “America’s most polite city” changed in the blink of an eye. When a rushing wind blew apart the “Welcome to Mannerland” sign, leaving only the portion reading “Land,” Deputy Dorkface knew that trouble was brewing. From that moment on, the children changed. No longer were they obedient, polite, and thoughtful. They became little terrors. They would not clean their rooms, talked with their mouths full, and demanded rather than requested things. They forgot all about sharing, kindness, and the feelings of others.
When the behavior of the children grew unbearable and nothing the parents did to get the children to behave worked, Deputy Dorkface enlisted the assistance of the townspeople to build a town within the town just for the children. There the children could decide their own proper behavior without adult supervision — though the adults secretly watched all that transpired. Over the next days, the children did as they pleased, chewed with their mouths full, slammed doors, gossiped, and failed to attend to their personal hygiene. They even picked their noses! Only when things became unbearable did the children want to go home but then they had to earn their way back.
There are many lessons for children in How Mannerland Got Its Manners Back that Janison artfully weaves into the story. With the assistance of Eldon Doty’s vivid and colorful illustrations, children will see the sad state that a community would be in if no one cared to do the right and proper thing. How Mannerland Got Its Manners Back is a wonderful story for parents and teachers to share with young people — if they can get them to be polite enough, long enough, to sit down and listen.
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