Title: What Do You Say, Dear?

Author: Sesyle Joslin (Illustrated by Maurice Sendak)

Publication Date: 1958, 1986

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

Price: $15.89

Number of Pages: 48

Awards: Caldecott Honor

Genre/Subgenre: Picture Books/Etiquette/Humor

Popularity: 4/5
Quality: 5/5

Reader’s Annotation: 

Manners for children no matter the occasion.


What Do You Say, Dear? covers the mannerly responses to a variety of situations, from making an introduction to thanking someone. Each lesson is connected to a cute scenario, from meeting a baby elephant to being captured by a pirate.


What Do You Say, Dear? is an adorable picture book. It very cleverly introduces manners and how to respond appropriately to various everyday social situations using outlandish and funny scenarios. The illustrations are fantastic and will be appreciated by young and old readers alike. I think children will find the scenarios very funny and will be excited to learn about manners through this book.

Why I Chose the Book:

I love etiquette books and thought this one was a very cute way to teach children manners.


What Do You Do, Dear? by Joslin Sesyle

Bootsie Barker Bites by Barbara Bottner

D.W.’s Guide to Perfect Manners by Marc Tolon Brown

Book Talk Ideas

Design a game for students or patrons to practice the etiquette lessons in the book. Write scenarios on slips of paper, put them in a bowl, and have the children pick a scenario and act it out using the correct manners.

Discussion Questions

1. What was your favorite lesson in the book? What did you like about it?

2. Why do you think manners are important?


Goodreads (2014). What Do You Say, Dear? by Sesyle Joslin. Retrieved from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/380680.What_Do_You_Say_Dear_?from_search=true

Joslin, S. (1958). What Do You Say, Dear? New York: HarperCollins Publishers.

“What Do You Say, Dear?” NoveList K-8. EBSCO, 01 Jan. 2001. Web. 23 Apr. 2014. <http://0-web.a.ebscohost.com.catalog.sjlibrary.org/novpk8/detail?vid=3&sid=885fa6ec-75e4-4211-bc2b-02e3bf950576%40sessionmgr4002&hid=4214&bdata=JnNpdGU9bm92cGs4LWxpdmU%3d#db=njh&UI=111150&gt;.