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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Mary Wrightly, So Politely, written by Shirin Yim Bridges and illustrated by Maria Monescillo. Harcourt Children's Books, Thomas Allen & Son. 2013. $20.99 ages 4 and up

"She didn't complain when a boy stepped on her toe. In fact, Mary Wrightly, so  politely, said, "I'm sorry." When Mary and her mother reached the toy store, it was very crowded. They had to squeeze themselves in the door - and who did they find inside but their neighbor, Mrs. Giles"

Too often the quiet and mannerly kids in our classrooms and families are almost invisible. They demand little from those around them, and accept things they feel they cannot change. It often takes something very important to encourage them to have a say.

That is exactly what happens for Mary Wrightly. She makes her way softly through life, offering up 'please' and 'thank you' at all of those times when they are needed and noticed. Rarely can people hear what she has to say the first time. She speaks so quietly, and needs encouragement to project her voice so that others know what she is saying. This means that what she thinks is rarely even noticed.

Mary has a brother whose birthday approaches. She wants to get him something special to celebrate this first important milestone. She and her mother hop on the bus for a trip to the toy store. Along the way, Mary reacts to every situation with quiet acceptance and good manners. Always unerringly polite, Mary is unable to state her case when a few appropriate gifts are taken by others. When it looks as if someone might take the one gift she REALLY wants for him, it does take courage but Mary has her say! Proof that there are times when you must speak up for what you want...

"At home, Mary ran straight to her brother's room
and dangled the blue elephant over his crib.
The elephant smiled down at her baby brother.
Her baby brother smiled up at the elephant."

The gorgeous depth of the bright pastel colors glow with light, and with love. Textural and attention-getting, they add much enjoyment to this tale of a little girl with a little (and very polite) voice finally making herself heard.

You go, Mary Wrightly!   

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