Something rolled off the book press last week that you might want to know about.
The re-release of the wry and slyly educational Do I Have to Say Hello? Aunt Delia’s Manners Quiz for Kids and Their Grown-ups from Blue Rider Press proves good humor never grows old (and, like hiding pureed carrots in the mac 'n cheese, it'll help you get your wild, nose-picking table monkeys in shape without too much fuss).
Twenty-five years after its original publication, this light-hearted manners guide is un-put-down able. My 10-year-old turned this hypothesis into scientific fact: She opened the book up and then sat down on the couch for a cover-to-cover read.
"Hey, mom? This guy who drew the cartoons has pictures in that cat book we have," said my daughter.
She’s talking about the genius work of illustrator Edward Koren, The New Yorker cartoonist. He created this book with bestselling author/screenwriter Delia Ephron, famous for The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, You’ve Got Mail, and Hanging Up, which is based on her novel.
While typically I can’t make my child sit up straight at the dinner table, my daughter laughed out loud while reading Do I Have to Say Hello? The book has a timeless gross factor that kids love (let's talk about scabs and puking!) yet winks to the digital native with updates app-plenty).
I’m not funnier than this book’s silly quizzes, alternate scenarios, and true-or-false questions, so I’m popping in an excerpt* right here. Please, no burping while reading:
Your aunt is making dinner and she asks you to set the table.
Do you say, "I can't. I'm busy"?
Do you moan and say, "Oh, okay, but I'm so tired"?
Do you say, "Why should I have to set the table? Why doesn't Uncle Jerry? He never does anything"?
Do you say, "Sure, Aunt Delia"?
You put down place mats, plates, forks, knives, spoons, napkins, and glasses. Finally you're finished. What do you say?
"Would you like me to do anything else, Aunt Delia?"
"Okay, I did it, but next time, do it yourself."
Dinner is ready. You sit down. Where do you put your napkin?
Around your neck.
On your head.
In your lap.
Now your aunt is serving. She asks if you would like some chicken.
Do you say, "Gimme"?
Do you say, "Stick 'em up, Aunt Delia, and hand over your drumsticks"?
Do you say, "I'd like a drumstick, please"?
"What about some string beans? They're so delicious," says Aunt Delia. You hate string beans. What do you say?
"Give them to Uncle Jerry. He looks like a string bean."
"No, thank you."
But suppose your aunt puts string beans on your plate without asking if you want them? What would you do then?
Say, "String beans make me puke, Aunt Delia."
Wait until she isn't looking and put a string bean up your nose.
Just ignore the string beans and hope Aunt Delia is nice enough that she won't ask you to eat just one.
Which of these is it okay to do while you eat dinner with your aunt and uncle?
Beat your chest and yell, "Me Tarzan."
Peel your scab.
Download six apps on Aunt Delia's phone.
What is the proper way to inform your aunt and uncle that you are finished and would like to leave the table?
"May I please be excused?"
*Reprinted with permission of Blue Rider Press