Please, Papa

( 1 )


Alice was making a farm in the middle of her bedroom. She asked Mama for a pig and chickens for her farm, but when Mama didn’t have a horse, Alice turned to her papa.

“Please, Papa,” said Alice.

“Okay,” said Papa, who, since Alice asked so nicely, put her on his back and trotted around like a horse himself.


A playful story where, with the use of a single polite word, lines between the real and the imaginary become blurred ...

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Alice was making a farm in the middle of her bedroom. She asked Mama for a pig and chickens for her farm, but when Mama didn’t have a horse, Alice turned to her papa.

“Please, Papa,” said Alice.

“Okay,” said Papa, who, since Alice asked so nicely, put her on his back and trotted around like a horse himself.


A playful story where, with the use of a single polite word, lines between the real and the imaginary become blurred as toy animals come to life.


A companion to Thank You, Mama, Kate Banks and Gabi Swiatkowska's Please, Papa is perfect for a quick and playful lesson in manners.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Alice has dark ringlets and dainty shoes, and she's learning to say please. "Mama, give me the pig," she orders. "Say please," Mama reminds her, then gives her the pig and some chickens so Alice (who also recently starred in Thank You, Mama) can play farm. Her father, home from work, becomes the farm's horse, trotting and neighing obligingly, but despite Alice's "please," he won't jump. A war of wills ensues. Alice crosses her arms and pouts. "Why don't you give this horse a rest?" Papa asks. "Please, Alice." At last Alice understands, and the story ends there, leaving readers to puzzle over the exchange. Sensitive children may grasp the idea that it's as important to hear "please" as it is to say it; others may conclude that Alice is merely tiresome. Swiatkowska's pictures of Alice in a romantic confection of a dress recall the round-faced children in turn-of-the-century soap advertisements. The story's greatest pleasure is found in the improbable outdoor creatures found inside Alice's house, echoing her gestures and emotions like a visual Greek chorus. Ages 4–8. (May)
Children's Literature - Sarah Maury Swan
Alice learns about manners and saying please when she wants something. She decides to make a farm in her bedroom and ask her mother to give her a pig, but her mother will only give her the pig if Alice says please. When she says the magic word, she gets what she wants until she asks for a horse. Mama says she doesn't have a horse, but when Papa comes home he rides Alice around on his shoulders. Soon Papa is too tired to be the horse anymore and when he says please, Alice gets off his back. She pats Papa on the head and runs to her room to feed the animals. The drawings are lovely and whimsical, portraying the characters in turn of the 19th Century garb. There's a very English feel to the drawings and I can hear children asking to have it read to them again. Some of them will also ask if they can start farms in their bedrooms. Reviewer: Sarah Maury Swan
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Alice is making a farm in her room. She asks her mother for a pig and then for chickens, and Mama provides them only when the child says, "Please." But when she asks for a horse, her mother replies that she doesn't have one. The accompanying pictures show a menagerie that includes an elephant, cats, a panda, birds. When Papa comes home and Alice asks him for a horse, he puts her on his shoulders and they romp around. Papa gets tired, quits the game, and Alice sulks. "Then the horse turned and looked at her." On two spreads, Papa is now depicted as a literal white horse. When Alice finally gives in and lets him rest, he's back to his human self. On the last spread, Alice feeds a cake to the animals in her bedroom. The setting, people, and costumes in the lush paintings have a Victorian look, and the human faces resemble porcelain dolls. This title is clearly a lesson in manners, but the illustrations are too confusing to gain a large audience.—Ieva Bates, Ann Arbor District Library, MI
Kirkus Reviews
Practicing politeness gets Alice almost everything she wants for her imaginary barnyard. Too bad the horse makes a request of his own. Alice needs a lot of animals for the farm she's building in her bedroom. "Mama, give me the pig," she demands. Mama reminds her to say "please." Each time Alice requests another animal, Mama teaches her to use her manners before handing her a toy animal that, the illustrations reveal, when placed in her daughter's hands, becomes the real thing. When Alice needs a horse, though, Mama has none. But smart Alice is ready when her papa comes home. With the requisite "please," Alice asks her dad to be the horse. They trot, neigh, gallop and race around the room. When she asks for the horse to jump, she does not like the answer: "No…this horse is tired." Here, the spread's background turns from a cheery blue-gray to a stormier hue as Alice sulks. The dad, painted as a chalky white horse, asks to be given a rest. Then he says, "Please, Alice….Please." The page turn shows Alice relenting, giving Papa, no longer a horse but himself on all fours, a pat on his head. While the message delivered is a good one, the lush Victorian feel of the art may not appeal to the readers most likely to benefit most from this lesson. A companion title, Thank You, Mama (2013), was not available for review. A lesson in manners for children with sophisticated visual palates. (Picture book. 4-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374360023
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 5/14/2013
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.24 (w) x 8.23 (h) x 0.42 (d)

Meet the Author

Kate Banks is the author of many acclaimed books for children, including the Boston Globe- Horn Book Award winner The Night Worker. She lives in the South of France.


Gabi Swiatkowska has illustrated many notable books for children, including My Name is Yoon, for which she received the Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award. She lives in France.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2014


    Must be dumb

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