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How to Behave and Why
by Munro Leaf
ISBN 0789306840 / 9780789306845 / 0-7893-0684-0
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It's hard to be good. Especially if you don't really know what "being good" means. Munro Leaf, beloved author of The Story of Ferdinand, decided to try his hand at defining good behavior in his 1946 classic How to Behave and Why. The two biggest questions to ask ourselves in life, he says, are "Are most of the people I know glad that I am here?" and "Am I glad that I am here, myself?" If you want to make good friends and keep them, he says, "You have to be HONEST. You have to be FAIR. You have to be STRONG and You have to be WISE." This strangely charming life primer, illustrated with endearing stick figures, goes on to explain why you have to be honest--how handy it is to be trusted, for instance, when you need to borrow money. And if you lie too much, "We can't believe ourselves or anyone else, because we don't really know what the truth is any more than a penguin and that is a stupid way to live." Specific reasons for not being a "lazy lump" or a liar or a cheat are outlined matter-of-factly, as are basic lessons in how to be well and strong. Originally published for the very young (it has an early-reader format with big type and pictures), Leaf's how-to-be-good guidebook will probably be shared among adults as a back-to-basics inspirational book with the same crossover appeal as Sandol Stoddard Warburg's I Like You. A satisfying reflection of a time when what was right and wrong seemed more black and white. (All ages) --Karin Snelson [via]