written by Howard Binkow & Reverend Ana
illustrated by Taillefer Long
Thunderbolt Publishing 1/01/2013
Age 4 to 8 32 pages
“Using humor and a light approach this book introduces to 5 to 8 year olds the concept “to have good manners is to do and say only what makes people feel good and comfortable.” The thirteenth book in the award winning Howard B. Wigglebottom series. Teacher and Counselor approved. Tips and lessons are included. Reviews and support resources are available at wedolisten.org”
“Howard Wigglebottom woke up very worried.”
Howard is worried about his friends not doing well in the Pup Scout’s Good Manners Competition. They compete in just five days. Oinky habitually burps, never saying, “Excuse me.”
Joey bumps into people and never says, “Excuse me.” Kiki uses unkind words, which is not nice. Even the Snorton Twins lack patience, cutting in l line, not willing to wait their turn. Howard must deal with a very ragamuffin group for this year’s contest. He needs help and enlists a coach. All good teams have coaches, right? Howard decided to get a coach for the manners team.
Howard cannot find a grown-ups willing to coach. Then he asked Ms. Owlee, who observed each kid’s manners at home, school, the park, and everywhere else they went. When the team had gathers for a coaching session, Ms. Owlee had basically one thing to tell the team. Some may say it’s a trick, because it involves secret magical words, but if it is a secret, no one will find out. Can Ms. Owlee coach Howard’s Manners Team on to victory?
Howard B. Wigglebottom and Manners Matter deals with many rude and yucky behaviors. Howard’s team coach, Ms. Owlee, takes a different from most approach to the team’s bad manner problems. Ms. Owlee not only shows the kids the right thing to do in their particular situations, she also gets them to understand why good manners are so important. Some of the kids burp and others fart but no one said, “Excuse me.” Part of the problem is that we often find those behaviors funny. This is especially true with young boys and fathers—when mom is not around. To be honest, sometimes it is funny, yet still not nice.
I like the secret magic words—two words—Ms. Owlee has the kids remember. Whenever they do something rude or gross, like fart or burp, they are to recall this secret. That, in turn, will help the kids remember to use manners. It works. This makes a lot of sense to me. If I know the reason behind something, I am more likely to comply with whatever it is. Understanding can go a long way in changing behavior. The next time Buzz sneezes, he remembers why he should show good manners and says, “Sorry for not covering my face.” Well, it’s a start. Nothing in the story deals with actions, only good manner words.
The magical words work with all the team members, who are now ready for the Manners Competition. In the end, Howard is pleased with his team’s performance. The entire team is thrilled. The story is an interesting way of conveying good manners to young children. Ages 4 to 8, and even younger, need constant reminders about manners. Reading Howard B. Wigglebottom and Manners Matter can entertain kids while instilling the good manners they so desperately need to learn at this age. Kids can read, or listen while someone else reads, the book over and over, ingraining the information and the difference between good and bad manners. Repetition is a master at helping children learn. This is why so many young children’s books use repetitive lines in the stories.
The illustrations are cute. The animals all have human qualities and characteristics, a technique called anthropomorphism. The cute skunk, pig, alligator, dogs—Howard Wigglebottom is a bunny–, and many other animals, will entertain kids. They have bright eyes, big smiles, and wear a variety of clothes, some of which are funny. The mouse Kiki speaks to nicely reminds me of the Monopoly man, with his top hat and long circus-style coat. I love the turtle that needs a walker to get around. Her curved shell easy looks like a hunch back, or a woman with osteoarthritis. The characters, all animals, range from very young to very old. I like this mix of young and old, similar to what children see and deal with daily.
The Howard B. Wigglebottom and Manners Matter is one in a series of books devoted to helping young children grow up with the characteristics they need for success. Series titles always begin, Howard B. Wigglebottom . . . Titles include . . . Learns to Listen; Learns About Bullies; Learns too Much of a Good Thing is Bad; On Yes and No: A Fable about Trust; and the Power of Giving: A Christmas Story, to name a few in this ever-growing series (13 thus far). The Howard B. Wigglebottom stories are well-written, interesting stories that will hold children’s attention from start to finish; perfect for use in the classroom. Young children love to learn and they love to please, making this a great age to learn and reinforce good manners. With the gentle persuasiveness of Howard’s friend, Ms. Owlee—a very smart owl in deed—Howard B. Wigglebottom and Manners Matter will help and encourage many children and their parents.
Oh, what was that? What are Ms. Owlee’s secret magical words? Well, it is a secret, and . . . you didn’t say, “Please.”
HOWARD B. WIGGLE BOTTOM AND MANNERS MATTER. Text copyright © 2013 by Howard Binkow Living Trust. Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Taillefer Long. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Thunderbolt Publishing, through the distributor, Lerner Publishing Group, Minneapolis, MN.
Learn more about the Howard B. Wigglebottom Series HERE.
For an informative interview with Howard Binkow, go HERE.
Free Poster HERE.
Listen to Song, find Lessons and Reflections HERE.
copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews