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Pan-African Connection

Bookstore and Resource Center

Thank You and Please: The Politeness Twins Yusuf Ali El



Thank You & Please: The Politeness Twins is a picture book told in rhyming verse. It delivers positive lessons and energetic, colorful illustrations to promote the idea that politeness is important in everyday life.

The book begins by introducing readers to fraternal twins: “We are ‘Thank You & Please,’ [sic] ‘The Politeness Twins.’ Please let us work for you,” they begin. The narrative that follows discusses the various moments someone might effectively use the words “please” and “thank you” and other niceties such as “excuse me.” For example, the book recommends asking someone to “please” pass you a dish at dinner rather than leaning over the table, and suggests you say “excuse me, please” after coughing or yawning.

The verse’s meter changes throughout, and occasionally the author stretches for rhymes, which can make the narrative feel forced, as in: “No matter how nicely we dress, or how well we do in school,/ it is still good manners which shall decide what’s ugly or beautiful.” The book would have also benefitted from professional editing, as there are many punctuation mistakes.

Thank You & Please also has another bothersome issue, in that the twins’ names create the expectation that they will embody the traits of their names, saying things such as (for the character Thank You): “Use me when someone has done something nice for you.” Instead, they are presented most often as normal children who are first lectured by their father about how to be polite, and later lecture readers on the topic. This makes one wonder why the author chose this naming conceit. The tone is upbeat, however, and the author’s enthusiasm is infectious. The illustrations greatly enhance the story, bringing the characters to life and elevating the book’s often didactic case for politeness.


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