Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Picture Books
Are You Going to Be Good?

Are You Going to Be Good?

Fall 2005 Picture Books
Ages: 3 - 6 yrs.
Author: Cari Best
Illustrator: G. Brian Karas
ISBN: 0-374-30394-0
Hardcover Price: $16.00
Parents know that bringing children to fancy places such as weddings and nice restaurants is stressful, mostly because the whole evening depends on whether everyone acts appropriately. But as Cari Best demonstrates in her latest picture book, it's just as stressful for children to constantly hear the admonition to behave themselves. In Are You Going to be Good? that's just the question little Robert is asked over and over as his family prepares to celebrate Great-Gran Sadie's 100th birthday with a “night party.” Best is attuned to the anxiety Robert feels as everyone criticizes his behavior. Whether washing his hands with too much soap or spitting out a yucky unfamiliar drink, he feels he can't do anything right. But the surprise comes when the music starts, and Robert, finally, gets some approval. G. Brian Karas's illustrations of Robert are endearing and expressive, and while children will relate to Robert's situation, Best's message is a reminder about understanding aimed squarely at grown-ups.
Zarina Mullan Plath   ©2005 Parents' Choice
Zarina Mullan Plath has undergraduate degrees in both biology and English. Her interests include cookbooks/culinary history, South Asian literature (especially in regards to South Asians in America), and, of course, children's literature. Her poetry is included in the anthology Sweeping Beauty (U. of Iowa Press, 2005). Zarina lives in Central Illinois with her husband, two children, and assorted pets.

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