By: Sherrill S. Cannon
Illustrated by: Kalpart
Publisher: Strategic Book Publishing
Publication Date: January 2013
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Review Date: February 15, 2014
It's a bird! It's a plane! It's ... no, it's not one of those other superheroes, this time it's Manner-Man, the superhero who helps children deal with bullies and other misbehaving children.
As the story opens, we meet a young boy who has been bullied by another boy. He's upset and tells his mother what happened and gets some excellent advice. That night, he thinks about what his mom said, and soon falls asleep and dreams about Manner-Man:
"Call upon Manner-Man; he'll save the day
And help all good children to share when they play..."
The next day at school, two boys are fighting. Fortunately, our young protagonist knows just what to do:
I put up my hand, from the tips came a flash,
And Manner-Man came, just as if I had asked.
He stopped all the fighting and arguing too,
And then he told them what they needed to do:
Manner-Man is smart, he knows the way to stop the fighting is not to push back. Instead he tells the children to use words, words to explain that fighting is not cool; words to explain that sharing is more fun. He also cautions that words can hurt too, and explains that calling people names is not kind and will hurt feelings.
Manner-Man helps the children through many tough situations, from the bullies who push and shove, to the teddy bear snatchers, and those who don't know how to say "please" and "thank you." Soon most of the kids at school are calling on Manner-Man to help and they all know that,
No matter the problem, no matter the crime,
Manner-Man saves the day, time after time.
He teaches good manners, so take his advice:
If someone starts shoving, just shout out "Not nice!"
Normally I don't use as much text from a children's book in my reviews, but I must confess that I just love the easy-flowing rhymes of Manner-Man and wanted to share that with readers. So many books that tell stories through rhyme have at least a few sections where the rhymes don't quite work, where text is forced. Not so in this adventure tale! The whole story flowed so perfectly that I read it through three times - it was that much fun to read. Of course, the truly important question is, does the story work? The answer? Absolutely! Dealing with bullies is not easy for anybody, especially young children. As adults, we know that fighting back is NOT the way to deal with a bully, but the temptation to push back is strong with a child. Manner-Man uses his superpowers to teach children that that is not the way to stop bullying. The line, 'If someone starts shoving, just shout out "Not nice!" is repeated numerous times in the story in slightly different variations. It's an important lesson, and one that comes through loud and clear.
Finally, a review of Manner-Man would not be complete without mentioning the fantastic artwork. Created by Kalpart (a group of illustrators specializing in children's books), the author has used this team for her other award-winning books. While I haven't read the other books, the illustrations for Manner-Man are absolutely perfect. The drawings are bright, quite colorful, expressive, and eye-catching. They add the perfect finishing touch to a fun, creative book.
Quill says: A delightful book that not only entertains but also teaches children an important lesson.