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miss manners

When I was growing up my mother starting reading Miss Manners to us at the dinner table. I'm not sure what prompted this, maybe it was because my siblings and I were eating too quickly, or fighting over the last piece of pie, or setting the centerpieces on fire (true story). We read an entry or two each night, which continued until the book was finished. And then we just started over again.

A friend recently brought over a sweet little book called Manners to Grown On, published in 1955. I love the illustrations and the two color printing, and the little bits of advice to help any young lad know what to do in any social situation. 

My son beat me to the phone the other day and answered it by yelling "Who is it?".  I know he's only four, but it might be time to break out the Miss Manners. 

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I wanted to suggest a few books that your son may find more enjoyable than Miss Manners (although I am tempted to replicate your mother's read aloud myself!). Both of my boys loved "Manners" by Aliki from a very early age. This clever book does the same thing as Miss Manners, but in a comic book format. A new favorite is "Do Unto Otters" by Laurie Keller (who also wrote the wonderful Scrambled States of America, which your son would probably love as well). She has a terrific sense of humor, but the message is loud and clear. And, finally, "How To Be A Friend" by Marc Brown is a good one too. It is about peer dynamics, but manners are at the heart of the book.

09.22.2008 | Unregistered Commenterjsklsk

I love the idea of a old-fashioned manners book. We could all use more manners these days... That is one thing that is nice about living in the South. Everything is "yes sir" "no sir" and "yes ma'am" "no ma'am".
your family sounds like fun. I would have been down with burning centerpieces. I used to love to burn things. I was so stupid. I can't believe that I never burned myself!

09.22.2008 | Unregistered CommenterErin

I have two year olds who answer the phone (well extension) and keep repeating helloooo ... where can I get a copy LOL.

09.22.2008 | Unregistered CommenterTrish

Everyone needs a good reminder of manners these days. Yes, just adore those little illustrations too! Fantastic blog!!

09.22.2008 | Unregistered Commenterporter

Great post and reminder.

09.22.2008 | Unregistered CommenterLecia

These are great. And, as a boy, I'm learning something.

Did you scan any more illustrations? I would love to see them.

09.22.2008 | Unregistered CommenterArjewtino

i love that last picture caption about "being yourself." hilarious.

09.22.2008 | Unregistered Commenterlynne

love your blog. love this post. love vintage books. . . .

09.23.2008 | Unregistered CommenterRobin

i need to own this book. question: does it specify that throwing chewed up carrots across the kitchen is not good manners? i just can't seem to get that one through. . .

09.23.2008 | Unregistered Commenterkatie

And a gentle reminder... do not say "I'm sorry" when stating that he/she is not at home to take the call. A simple "He's not available right now, may I take a message?" will suffice... as saying "I'm sorry" assumes some level of responsibility for the person's absence. We save "I'm sorry" in this house for true apologies. "I'm sorry" is a powerful phrase that should not be tossed about.

I don't know why I am a stickler for this one.

09.24.2008 | Unregistered CommenterSasha

Love this post. My son's not even 2 yet, but it's amazing how early you can start teaching manners.

09.25.2008 | Unregistered CommenterMary

Oh, this post made me laugh!!! My little girl Ruby is 4 too, and has a very squeally little voice. She would anwser the phone by saying hello!!!???? Whose speaking!!!??? in the highest squealiest little voice you have ever heard...everyone else thought it was cute, except me! Now she says "May you tell me who is talking to me!!!???? hehehe, super cute, but, still just as squeaky! I had forgotten about this book, we did a Home Kindy study on it...one lesson a week!

02.12.2009 | Unregistered CommenterJess

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