Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

What Do You Say, Dear? by Sesyle Joslin

What Do You Say, Dear? (edition 1986)

by Sesyle Joslin, Maurice Sendak (Illustrator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4321024,401 (4.29)8
Title:What Do You Say, Dear?
Authors:Sesyle Joslin
Other authors:Maurice Sendak (Illustrator)
Info:HarperCollins (1986), Paperback, 48 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, paperback, children's lit

Work details

What Do You Say, Dear? by Sesyle Joslin



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 8 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
This is a book teaches readers to be polite and some manners. The author offers many different and interesting situations to teach readers to use polite words in different situations. It is an interesting guide for readers of social behaviors. I will use this book to teach students to be polite.
Age: 6-9
  ying-sun | Jan 24, 2014 |
This is yet another book of illustrations that won the Caldecott Honor.

Published in 1958, it is one of Sendak's earlier works.

Using silly situations to discuss the topic of manners, the author and the illustrator working together do not preach, rather they suggest appropriate behavior.

The words Thank you, please, beg your pardon, excuse me and may I please be excused were once a part of our everyday interaction.

Sadly, our social mores of this generation have stretched to rude curtness. ( )
  Whisper1 | Jun 15, 2013 |
I adore this book! I just found a copy at a church sale last week. I had to buy it. It's just as warm and funny as I remember. ( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
  BRCSBooks | Oct 10, 2011 |
This book tries to teach manners (no idea if it's successful), and avoids being totally condescending and didactic by putting them all in the case of bizarre, childish make-believe scenarios. What do you say when you're walking backwards to town (because you like to do that) and bump into an alligator? What do you say when you're flying your plane and remember the Duchess asked you to drop in, so you do and break her roof?

It's silliness incarnate, and you have to love it!

There are three scenarios in particular that reviewers have commented on, so let's tackle those.

The first is the "decapitation". In this case you're asked what you say when you're out picking flowers in front of your castle, a dragon appears and breathes smoke at you, and then a knight saves you by chopping off its head. (You say thank you.)

There's no blood or anything gory shown, and as far as I'm concerned the princess being saved from the dragon by the knight is a common fairy tale set-up. I don't have a problem with this. There are more violent scenes in both classic and recent Disney animated films, nobody is claiming the dragon was talking and friendly and just violently attacked - I have no problem with this scene for this age group. Let's move on.

The next one is where you are a cowboy. Suddenly the bad guy shows up and holds a gun to your head and asks "Would you like me to shoot a hole in your head?" (You say "no thank you", which strikes me as perfectly sensible.)

This one is a bit trickier. I'll be honest and skip ahead a bit by saying I, personally have no problem with ANY of this book - but in this case I can really see why some people do. The scene is a bit explicit, and the Western is no longer a popular form of drama anyway so it's not like this situation is likely to have come up in your child's play.

However, as nobody actually gets hurt, I'd say most kids won't even notice to be upset. There's more violent scenes on cartoons in the morning.

And the last one that people have complained about is the one where you're a pirate and have captured a lady and tied her up. Every morning when you untie her to eat breakfast she says "Good morning, how are you?" and you are supposed to say the same.

As far as this goes... meh. Clearly nobody is being particularly ill-treated.

Now, overall, I don't mind any of these scenes because I know quite a few children. This sort of thing and more is exactly what they come up with when they're playing pretend. If you think children do not play-act violence you are very much mistaken. They do. They do it because it's exciting. They do it because it's fun to practice being really bad in a safe way that doesn't actually harm anyone, when in real life they work so hard to be GOOD. They do it because these things scare them and playing them makes them less scary. They do because the stories they are exposed to have violence there, explicit or implied, and they want to understand that. They do because you can't have a good story without a villain.

And children have been doing this for as long as there have been children to play pretend at all. I do not believe that this is in any way linked to actual violence when these children grow up.

Obviously if your child is bothered by this sort of pretend violence, don't read them this book. Or if you are. However, truthfully, I don't think it's that big a deal in this context. ( )
1 vote conuly | May 1, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Joslin, Sesyleprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sendak, MauriceIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
What do you say when:

you bump into a crocodile on a crowded city street?

a nice gentleman introduces you to a baby elephant?

the Queen feeds you so much spaghetti that you don't fit in your chair anymore?

This is the funniest book of manners you'll ever read!

Offers advice on how to cope correctly with a variety of common and uncommon social situations.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0064431126, Paperback)

"You have gone downtown to do some shopping. You are walking backwards, because sometimes you like to, and you bump into a crocodile. What do you say, dear?" This is just one of the delightful hypothetical situations introduced by award-winning author Sesyle Joslin in this "handbook of etiquette for young ladies and gentlemen to be used as a guide for everyday social behavior." Maurice Sendak's quirky, comical illustrations are perfect for this old-fashioned, whimsical guide to manners. First published in 1958, this Caldecott Honor Book and ALA Notable Children's Book is a time- tested, fun way to teach your children important lessons. By the way, "Excuse me" is the proper response to the crocodile above! (Ages 4 to 8)

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:56 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Offers advice on how to cope correctly with a variety of common and uncommon social situations.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
3 avail.
21 wanted

Popular covers


Average: (4.29)
2 3
3 6
4 13
4.5 3
5 25

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 98,503,822 books! | Top bar: Always visible