Friday, August 7, 2015

BetterNot! And the Tale of Bratsville by Gene Del Vecchio

BetterNot! And the Tale of Bratsville by Gene Del Vecchio
Image Used by Permission from the Author, Gene Del Vecchio

BetterNot And the Tale of Bratsville by Gene Del Vecchio

BetterNot:  Teaching Morals and Manners

*BetterNot And the Tale of Bratsville by Gene Del Vecchio was provided for me in exchange for my honest review.

I work with preschoolers in my home.  Teaching children good morals and the value of using good manners is important to me and even more important to the children’s parents.  BetterNot And the Tale of Bratsville by Gene Del Vecchio is a children’s book which helps children learn the importance of practicing good morals and manners.

The story takes place in an imaginary town called Bratsville where little children cannot behave themselves.  Their parents have tried to teach their children good morals and manners, but their children keep misbehaving.

Children are introduced to characters who pick their noses, use bad table manners, shout, hit, steal, and lie.  One day, “Old Doctor John” tells the children about a creature who will punish them for their bad behavior.

But the children continue to misbehave.

The creature from the magical swamp visits each child and causes each one to experience “uncomfortable” circumstances due to their behavior.  Each child learns a valuable lesson about how using bad manners and morals affects not only other children, but also themselves.

The children learn that the creature called BetterNot acted out of love.  He loved them enough to teach them the consequences of their behavior.  At the end of the book, children are encouraged to listen to their parents and to treat others as they would want to be treated.

As a parent and educator, I found this book helpful for teaching morals and manners.  I read this book to a group of children ranging in ages from 2 to 10.  The two year old children were mostly interested in the photos.  The book is well illustrated by Roderick Fong.  It is an attractive book which appeals to children.  The older children were interested in the story, especially the ways in which BetterNot the creature taught the children their lessons.  Children between the ages of 3 and 5 quickly picked up on the rhyming nature of the story.  Occasionally, I would pause to see if they would correctly fill in the rhyming word.  Most of the time, they did.

I love that this book appeals to different age groups.  It is a great tool to begin conversations about behavior.

Now, let’s hear from the experts!  Here is what my little group of kids thought about BetterNot And the Tale of Bratsville.

Alex (age 6):  This book is good!  I like the part where the boy’s eyes got captured by the TV.

Katie Beth (age 5):  I like the part where all the kids started acting like angels. 

Camden (age 10):  I liked the part when the kid turned into a cupcake and when the kids started being good.

Maeve (age 8):  I like the whole book!

Martin (age 5):  I thought it was funny when the kid turned into a cupcake and when the kids became nice.

Braden (age 3):  There was a monster in it.

Hadley (age 2):  I really liked the cupcake.

The children enjoyed the consequences the child characters endured because of their behavior and they realized the reasons the children needed to be nice, use good manners, and practice good morals.

This book provides parents, teachers, and caregivers several opportunities to discuss behavior with children of all ages.

I love reading a book to my kids and then developing educational materials to go along with the book.  After reading BetterNot! And the Tale of Bratsville to your kids, consider using some of the items in the book to teach letters.  For example, read the book and then help children associate the letter C with cupcake, D with dinosaur, M with mirror, T with toy, etc.  Have the children choose their favorite characters and draw pictures.  Ask the children to talk about some of their own behaviors and ask them what BetterNot might do to them.  Have younger children draw a picture and have the older children write a short story.  The educational possibilities are endless with this book.

If you would like a sneak peak at BetterNot! And the Tale of Bratsville, you can view sample pages here:  BetterNot SAMPLE PAGES 

Gene Del Vecchio is a husband, father, consultant, and educator at USC. 

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