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Are You Going To Be Good?
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Are You Going To Be Good?

by Cari Best
 

A joyous celebration of the young and young-at-heart

Tonight’s a special night. Robert is going to his first grownup party – a birthday celebration for Great-Gran Sadie, who is one hundred years old. Robert is so excited he feels like a firecracker about to go off. But once he arrives at the party, it’s hard to remember what to do when. &

Overview

A joyous celebration of the young and young-at-heart

Tonight’s a special night. Robert is going to his first grownup party – a birthday celebration for Great-Gran Sadie, who is one hundred years old. Robert is so excited he feels like a firecracker about to go off. But once he arrives at the party, it’s hard to remember what to do when. “Don’t do that!” says Grandpa Jack. “Don’t do that!” says Uncle Phil. “Don’t do that!” says Cousin Sidney. But what will Great-Gran Sadie say?

How Robert discovers an unexpected kindred spirit comes to life in whimsical pictures that perfectly capture what it’s like to be small in a world of adults. This is one party no one will ever forget.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"It's always fun to see a child break away from stultifying rules and this one does it with charmingly child-like style. Karas's drawings are full of spirit, just like Robert and Great-Gran Sadie." — Kirkus Reviews

"Children will identify and sympathize with young Robert." — Booklist

"Cari Best and G. Brian Karas understand that bond between young and old . . . they capture the spirit, the alienation and the redemption of a 5-year-old on an outing for, by and about grown-ups." — The New York Times Book Review

"Best zeroes in on both the joys of childhood and the bewilderment of kids being initiated in the rituals of adult life." — Starred, Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly
For Robert, the young hero of this expert and empathic comedy of manners, an invitation to a fancy family party has its pros and cons. Being allowed to stay up way past "pajama time," putting on smart-looking duds "just like his daddy" and goofing off in a stuffy men's room are all good; but being reprimanded at every turn with a whispered "Don't do that!" is no fun at all. Best (Three Cheers for Catherine the Great!) possesses a perfect ear for the cadences of children's conversations. In the car on the way to the party, his mother, father and big sister all give him advice ("Remember not to mumble.... Some old people aren't good at hearing," says sister Alice), to the point where Robert replies, "Okay. Okay. Okay.... I'll remember everything"). Luckily, Robert's irrepressible spirit strikes a chord with none other than the guest of honor, 100-year-old Great-Gran Sadie. When Robert starts dancing "like a firecracker ready to explode," the birthday girl "kicks off her pointy shoes and starts to dance, too." Best zeroes in on both the joys of childhood and the bewilderment of kids being initiated in the rituals of adult life. Karas's (Follow the Leader) jewel-toned, childlike renderings and observations of the uninhibited, charming hero will immediately strike a chord with youngsters; the party scenes are spot-on, such as the one in which Robert spits a torrent of yucky pink punch back into his cup. Ages 3-6. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
It is his Great-Gran Sadie's 100th birthday party, so Robert is going to get dressed up to go to his first night party. He must practice "Please" and "Thank you" and "Excuse me" and remember not to mumble, interrupt, run, jump—more instructions than he can possibly remember. At first Robert is overwhelmed, and keeps being told "Don't do that" as the celebration progresses. Finally, when the after-dinner music begins, he feels as if he might explode. His family tells him to quiet down, but Great-Gran Sadie joins him in a wild dance. They agree that they cannot wait until next year's party. All the anxieties readers share with Robert are relieved in the happy ending. Karas's lively, cartoony pictures show characters with dots for eyes and crayon shading for cheeks. But the full-page scenes are set with plenty of details to demonstrate all the "don't's" that Robert encounters. Readers can identify with Robert's feelings as they view the cast of relatives, often shown from his perspective looking up, and the activities of a grown-up party. 2005, Melanie Kroupa Books/Farrar Straus and Giroux, Ages 3 to 6.
—Ken Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Robert is excited about attending Great-Gran Sadie's 100th birthday party. He knows he looks handsome in his new shirt, well-polished shoes, and going-to-a-party tie. He can't wait to eat, dance, and help celebrate the big event. But Mama, Daddy, and big sister Alice have nonstop instructions for how he should behave. When they arrive, other relatives add to the list of dos and don'ts. Robert's enthusiasm fades during a meal that he doesn't like and speeches that never end. Boredom leads to mischief such as building igloos from ice cubes. When the dancing begins, Robert finally has a chance to let out the wiggles, but his sheer energy raises a chorus of "don'ts" from all the relatives-except Great-Gran Sadie. She may be 100, but she still knows how to have fun with a boy who's had to sit much too long. Karas's spirited color illustrations portray the family gathering from a child's view: lots of legs and no faces, strange foods and unappetizing drinks. The book would be a perfect choice to read before or after a family gathering. The venues and reasons for such events may vary, but attempts to meet adults' expectations will resonate with most readers.-Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A silly tale about manners gets exuberant pictures to match. Robert goes to a late-night party for Great-Gran Sadie. In the car they practice "Please" and "Thank you" and "Excuse me." During the party, Robert tastes foods and puts back the ones he dislikes, prompting a "Don't do that" from Daddy. Henceforth, "Don't do that" is the running commentary on all of Robert's activities. Chastised for everything from spitting out drinks to shining shoes under the dinner table, Robert finds the party disappointing-until it's time to dance. His wiggling, quaking dance style evokes a "Don't do that" from everyone in the room-except Great-Gran Sadie, who cheers "DO THAT AGAIN!" His night is made and they dance together. It's always fun to see a child break away from stultifying rules and this one does it with charmingly child-like style. Karas's drawings are full of spirit, just like Robert and Great-Gran Sadie. (Picture book. 2-4)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780374303945
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
09/08/2005
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
8.76(w) x 11.24(h) x 0.28(d)
Age Range:
3 - 6 Years

Read an Excerpt

A note from the author
I saw this book as a chance to just be myself and have a good time. And I did have a good time. In fact, writing this book reminded me of why I wanted to be a writer in the first place.

From First French Kiss
Going Steady

That night I called her and did my best to sound as docile and love struck as possible. This I accomplished by lowering my voice an octave and whispering as though I had laryngitis. A half hour into our conversation she asked me if I loved her, and I said, "Of course," and she said, "How much?" and I said, "A lot," and she said, "I love you more," and I said, "No, you don't," and she said, "Yes, I do," and I said, "No, you don't," and she giggled and I giggled and she hung up and I felt a little queasy.

The Fight
When I heard Mike Dichter say, "Hey, buddy!" Somehow I knew that he meant me. Somehow I also knew that all kinds of jigs were up and that something momentous was going to happen. I turned to look at him.

"I hear you want to fight me," he said.

"That's right," I said.

"I'll meet you after school."

"I'll be there," I said. Then he walked away, and I discovered two interesting things about myself. The first was that the idea of fighting terrified me, and the second was that in moments of extreme fear my body produced ice-cold sweat.

Meet the Author

Cari Best’s acclaimed books include Shrinking Violet, a School Library Journal Best Book. She lives in Weston, Connecticut.

G. Brian Karas has written and illustrated many books for children, including his own Atlantic, an ALA Notable Book, and Follow the Leader by Erica Silverman. He lives in Rhinebeck, New York.

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