Mind Your Manners, Alice Roosevelt

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Fathers have apparently been trying to control their impulsive daughters since time began, and Mind Your Manners, Alice Roosevelt, by author Leslie Kimmelman, is proof of that.

In this adorable over-sized picture book, Alice, the eldest daughter of President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, is lovable enough, but much too rambunctious to mind her manners. She jumps on the sofa with her shoes on, wears pantaloons when she shouldn’t, rides pigs bare-back, and sticks out her tongue when she’s not happy about something.

Poor President Roosevelt tries to deal with Alice’s independent personality, but it isn’t easy. In fact, readers learn that Mr. President can handle sickness, war, grave decisions and even world leaders…but he can’t figure out what to do about headstrong Alice. Whenever he tells her she’ll do as he says as long as she lives under his roof, Alice climbs to the top of the White House so that she’s “over” his roof and doesn’t have to obey.

Children ages five and up will surely see themselves in the pages of this book, and will easily identify with Alice’s curiosity, pranks, and frequent temper tantrums.

If you are a history-lover who drools over books with authentic pictures of yester-year, you’ll want to add this special book to your personal collection. It debuted in 2009 so it’s not exactly hot off the press, yet it sports the usual staying power of other “boomer” nostalgia books.

Illustrator Adam Gustavson shares a bevy of beautifully-authentic pictures of the early 1900’s White House and the people who lived in it. There are lovely pictures of President Roosevelt meditating, Alice sitting primly on the white house roof at sunset, Alice driving—fast—in what looks like a red Model T Ford, Alice riding a bicycle for the first time, and President Roosevelt racing down the White House hallways with his squealing family in tow.

If you’re looking for a lively slice of history with lots of laughs, read this delightful historical picture book. It is bursting at the seams with presidential tidbits about life in the White House and the little girl named Alice who wreaked lovable havoc all the day long.

It should do well in early elementary classrooms, social studies classrooms, and on the shelves of die-hard history lovers.

Best wishes and…mind your manners!

Rita Lorraine

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