Mind Your Manners, Alice Roosevelt!

Mind Your Manners, Alice Roosevelt!

5.0 4
by Leslie Kimmelman, Adam Gustavson
     
 

Alice Roosevelt was an independent, outspoken young woman during a time when women were supposed to be conventional and reserved. Whether it was riding a pig, keeping a pet snake, or driving a car—and speeding!—Alice did what she wanted to. When her father told she had to obey his rules while she lived under his roof, Alice decided to spend her time on

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Overview

Alice Roosevelt was an independent, outspoken young woman during a time when women were supposed to be conventional and reserved. Whether it was riding a pig, keeping a pet snake, or driving a car—and speeding!—Alice did what she wanted to. When her father told she had to obey his rules while she lived under his roof, Alice decided to spend her time on top of the roof! Readers will enjoy author Leslie Kimmelman's factual and affectionate look at a free spirit who caught the attention of a nation in the early years of the twentieth century. Kimmelman juxtaposes Alice's antics with the achievements of her father—from his creation of our national parks system to his successful efforts at diplomacy—yet all the while, demonstrates a tender bond between the two. Adam Gustavson's illustrations perfectly capture the humor of the story and the strong personalities of its characters while placing the story within its proper historical context.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Kimmelman's (Everybody Bonjours!) picture-book biography of Teddy Roosevelt's daughter is as much about her father's accomplishments as it is about Alice's unruly behavior. The conversational narrative emphasizes that soldier, diplomat and politician Roosevelt “could handle almost anything,” be it governing the U.S. or international diplomacy. “But,” reads the book's repeated refrain, “Teddy Roosevelt didn't always know how to handle his oldest daughter, Alice,” who is shown jumping on the sofa, riding a pig and driving a speeding automobile. Speech balloons present Roosevelt's repeated admonishments of his rambunctious offspring, and the typeface is sometimes creatively arranged, as when it snakes across the page in a passage about Alice's pet snake. Gustavson (The Yankee at the Seder) adeptly captures the young woman's shenanigans—and her irrepressible spirit—in lifelike oil paintings that range from spot art to full-spread scenes and include some inventive perspectives. One scene shows her happily perched on a rooftop with a teacup and umbrella, and a view from above later spotlights the havoc the escaped snake creates in the White House. A lively, fictionalized portrait of a very independent girl. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Phyllis J. Perry
This picture book about Alice Roosevelt, the eldest daughter of Teddy Roosevelt, twenty-sixth president of the United States, is as much about the father as it is about the daughter. Many of the two-page spreads begin by telling what the president knew how to do and then contrasting this with his ineptitude at handling his daughter. Young Alice Roosevelt was difficult to raise, and because she was in the public eye, her independence and outspokenness drew attention to her. She was one of the first women in America to drive a car, and she drove it fast! The president was not happy when Alice carried around her neck (or in her pocketbook) her pet snake (named Emily Spinach) that sometimes escaped into various rooms in the White House. This large format book has lively and colorful oil-on-paper illustrations, and sometimes makes use of speech balloons and creative positioning of typeface. Readers will enjoy young Alice's antics, but this fictionalized account does not provide a strong historical context and does little to suggest any of the accomplishments of Alice Roosevelt as an adult. Reviewer: Phyllis J. Perry
School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—Kimmelman's story, ostensibly about the irrepressible Alice Roosevelt, is as much about her father and his accomplishments. Each spread opens with a statement about what Teddy can handle (sickness, fighting, the vice-presidency, diplomacy), faced with a page of what he can't handle (one of Alice's many antics), and followed by the admonishment, "Alice, mind your manners!" Gustavson's realistic oil-on-paper illustrations convey the period while capturing the humor and vivaciousness of the Roosevelts. The author does not provide readers with much historical context, however (Alice's behavior may not seem so outlandish today), and emphasizes Teddy's frustration and parental incompetence. Barbara Kerley's What to Do About Alice? (Scholastic, 2008) does a better job of conveying time and place and the president's appreciation of his daughter's individuality.—Lisa Egly Lehmuller, St. Patrick's Catholic School, Charlotte, NC
Kirkus Reviews
Despite the title, Kimmelman's book focuses primarily on Theodore Roosevelt and his achievements-as a frail child, a Rough Rider, governor, vice president and president-instead of his lively eldest child, Alice. While some of her exploits, particularly those involving her pet snake, Emily Spinach, are taken from history, others, such as Alice riding a pig or throwing a tantrum, are generic and possibly fictional. Shown one-dimensionally, Alice's antics come across as those of a spoiled child, and the ending-Alice getting married so "[h]er father didn't have to handle her anymore"-imparts a strange message of masculine control. No mention is made of the diplomatic trips Alice managed adroitly on her father's behalf or of her lifelong, intelligent passion for politics. Gustavson's action-filled paintings show the First Family from many interesting perspectives but don't contribute to plot or tension. Barbara Kerley and Edwin Fotheringham's Sibert Honor-winning What To Do About Alice? (2008) is the better choice. (Picture book. 5-8)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781561454921
Publisher:
Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
Publication date:
09/28/2009
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
1,512,352
Product dimensions:
9.70(w) x 11.10(h) x 0.40(d)
Lexile:
AD700L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

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