Manners Matter
Manners Matter
Author *Marc Brown (cover credit)
Illustrator *Marc Brown (cover credit)
Publication date 2001
Published by Advance Publishers, L.C.
ISBN 1579731082
Publication Order
Preceded by
Arthur's Promise
Followed by
Queen for a Day

Manners Matter is the second book in Arthur's Family Values, a series of Arthur book titles aimed specifically at teaching morals. The moral of the book is "Being Polite." The book was written by K. Emily Hutta and illustrated by Judy Nelson.

Publisher's summary

Binky thinks rude rules—until Arthur and his friends come up with a clever plan to prove that manners really do matter.


Startled by Binky's latest act of rudeness, stealing Buster's turn during a friendly basketball game, Arthur and his friends decide to teach him a lesson. They'll each act rude around him in the hope that he'll improve his own manners if he sees how it feels to get a taste of his own medicine. But Binky may be kinder at heart than they think, even if he isn't always polite.

Plot summary

Arthur and his friends are out playing basketball when suddenly Binky steals Buster's turn and shoots a basket. Muffy, Prunella and Francine all call him out for being rude and having no manners, but Binky replies that he gets what he wants without them and walks away whistling.

Francine says that they can't let Binky get away with that and Muffy suggests signing him up for a manners class. None of the group can really imagine Binky in a manners class, but Brain does think that Muffy might be on to something in that Binky needs to learn how to act more polite. Arthur suggests that they could all try acting rude around him so he can see how it feels. They all agree, Brain calling it an "interesting behavior study" and Muffy saying that it won't be easy for her to act rude, but she'll try.

Later that day, Arthur and Buster encounter Binky watching a street performer and stand in front of him, blocking his view. Binky complains that he can't see, but the two just tell him that he'll need to move. They then gush about the street performer doing a fire-eating act, which Binky still can't see. He begins to threaten them, only to see Mr. Ratburn and walk back what he was about to say. He stalks away in a huff and soon encounters Muffy and Francine, who are fixing Francine's bike. Hearing Francine ask where the air pump is, he hands it to her, but after she blows up the tire, she and Muffy don't thank him, instead simply telling him to move and riding away.

Binky is shocked at their behavior, wondering if this is what he gets for being nice to someone. Then Brain rides by right past him, splattering mud on him. Brains stops, says that it was "unfortunate," calls the mud on Binky's shirt and pants a "fascinating abstract pattern" and rides away. Binky heads home to change his clothes and on the way encounters Prunella, who asks him to hold a bag of groceries for her. Surprised, Binky doesn't think to refuse, but after closing the car door, Prunella simply takes the bag and walks away, leaving Binky to wonder whatever happened to "please" or "thank you."

As Binky takes off again, he finds his way blocked by a little boy on a scooter. He tells him to get out of his way, but when he sees Prunella watching him adds "please," causing the boy to smile and move. Binky thanks him and leaves. The next day, Binky is at a grocery store shopping when he accidentally bumps into an elderly-rabbit lady. He politely says "excuse me" and the lady makes him blush when she calls a "polite young man," saying that some kids today don't even know what manners are. Later that day, Arthur and his friends are headed to the Ice Cream Shop when they hear Binky shouting at someone to "move it!" Francine groans in exasperation, but then the group turns the corner and sees what is actually happening. There's a little boy hiding behind Binky, who is telling a bully boy to "get lost, and stop picking on little kids."

Binky Tells Off a Bully

Binky telling off a bully

The young boy thanks Binky, who tells him "you're welcome." Arthur and his friends smile at this. They give each other high fives, but when Binky asks them what's going on, they tell him that it's nothing. They invite him to join him for some ice cream and he tells them that they've been acting weird lately, though Arthur acts like he had hadn't noticed. Inside the Ice Cream Shop, when Mrs. Powers gives Binky his ice cream he thanks her, causing her to do a double-take. She adds another scoop of ice cream to his cone, causing him to comment that "This manners thing really works."


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