STARRED REVIEW
January 2002

Mind your manners

By Vladimir Radunsky
Review by
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What's dinner like at the homes of authors Chris Raschka and Vladimir Radunsky? Their new book, Table Manners provides a few clues. Do they eat like their incorrigible character Dudunya, who is clearly in need of some basic etiquette lessons? Or, like Chester, are they able to instruct their less-civilized friends on the finer points of napkin folding, potato cutting and chewing food before swallowing?

Chester, whose head resembles an elongated lima bean, is the teacher here. He carefully explains the basic points of manners to his friend Dudunya, who, despite his rather messy potato-shaped face, is quite curious about civilized eating. And just where has Dudunya been eating? Clearly, he has dined in a world where meals take place without the benefits of utensils or napkins or even chewing.

To look for moral lessons or reason in this unorthodox, freewheeling guide is to miss the attraction. Using hilarious mixed-media illustrations, Table Manners is a bright, bold book that causes the reader to laugh aloud. There's a lot to see, and the splashy layout begs the reader to pause and look closely at the details. Is that really a cutout of a chicken with gravy and capers? And just what are the correct answers to "The Final Exam" at the end? I defy anyone to look at "Chester's Chart of Full-Mouthed Speaking Accidents" without chortling. The mother encrusted with rainbow sprinkles, and the cousin doused in cream sauce are images that should inspire the messiest of eaters to chew first and talk later.

So, whether you are eating at the Queen's palace, or having a chicken dinner at home, review Chester's rules of eating beforehand. Bon appetit!

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Table Manners

Table Manners

By Vladimir Radunsky
Candlewick
ISBN 9780763614539

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