Review of Arthur's Good Manners
Arthur's Good Manners (also published as Spaghetti Manners) is a Little Golden Book by Stephanie Calmenson. This very entertaining story follows a young alligator who is trying to remember all his manners, because his grandpa is coming for dinner.
I loved it when I was a kid because the illustrations were either relatable or absurd. It’s relatable because it’s normal kid stuff. Arthur’s playing, helping his mom, and having dinner. Only he’s an alligator, and takes alligator size bites. The little alligator is blowing bubbles in his milk. There is a discussion of the problems with having spaghetti in a rocket ship. There is a picture of an alligator inside the cabinet with the pots and pans, which my siblings and I thought was hilarious.
Lisa McCue Karsten did a marvelous job illustrating Arthur’s Good Manners. She used soft colors, and created lots of little details (including alligator shoes). The alligators use bipedal locomotion and interact with objects like they are human, but have retained an unmistakable alligatorness in their proportions and tail movement. Excellent attention to detail.
The adults are positive role models, which I like rereading it now. They are patient with Arthur, spend one-on-one time with him, and listen to him. When Arthur messes up, he gets a hug and age-appropriate instructions.
Grandpa teaches the fork and spoon method of spaghetti twirling.
Note for buyers: This Little Golden Book seems to have become a collectible since I was little. The used copies are currently (July 2020) more reasonably priced. The "new" copies are not.
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