Telephone Time

Telephone Time coverTelephone Time
A First Book of Telephone Do’s and Don’t’s

Another cutting edge technology book for kids. Actually, this is more etiquette for the telephone. Oh how I wish that people actually practiced etiquette with cell phones, but that rant is for another day.

In this particular tale, we are treated to some phone etiquette from a fairy called Ringalina. (I kid you not!) She instructs the Willis children, Lily and Willy, on how to use the phone. The drama comes when Mrs. Willis leaves 7 year old Lily and her younger brother Willy alone while she runs next door. Of course the phone rings and out pops the phone fairy Ringalina to pass on words of wisdom. Never tell someone on the phone you are alone, take a message, don’t call long distance (it’s too expensive), and of course be polite. Where Child Protective Services is in all of this drama is NOT addressed.

Decent message for 1986, but not very useful for 2012.


Answering the phone

Ringalina the Telephone Fairy

Telephone tips


  1. “Hey, this is Moe’s Tavern.”
    “Uh, hi. I’m looking for Jack N. Madikov.”
    “Hey, fellas! Is someone here Jack N. Ma-Okay, I’m not playing this game no more! When I find you, I’m gonna haul you to the public library and stick outdated children’s books up your butt!”
    “Eat my shorts!”

  2. There is no need for Child Protective Services. Many seven year olds can capably answer the phone and hold the fort down while the mother visits next door. It’s just that in today’s Helicopter Parenting, never-take-your-eyes-off-the-kids world, we think children must be constantly monitored well into their teens and twenties. And then we wonder why they act helpless and spoiled as adults.

    Except for the technology being outdated, the common sense and courtesy the book teaches seems to be appropriate. Maybe an update is in order, especially a chapter on texting and camera usage.

    Check this out if you have the time…

  3. Bit of a mixed message here:

    Don’t trust a stranger on the phone. But if a bizarre creature flies in the window and starts lecturing you, listen to everything it says.

  4. This could be something the Bell System published, or maybe Encyclopedia Britannica, strange fairy included. Check out “Care of the Hair and Nails” on the Internet Archive if you don’t believe me…

  5. I love that you shouldn’t tell someone down the phone that you are alone because they might be a witch. (Wouldn’t a witch be able to cast a spell to find children without a grownup nearby?)

  6. I agree that this particular edition is a bit silly, but oh man, as a switchboard operator for a small government agency, I SO wish more people read books on phone etiquette.

  7. Willy Willis? Oh man, contact Child protective services just for them naming their son!

  8. If Hilary Knight did the pictures then the book is pretty much bound to be adorable. :^)

  9. Another person who had this book growing up! (Born in ’85, so I guess it had already been around for a few years by the time we read it!) If I had kids and a land line, I’m sure most of it would still apply.

    Good old Lily and Willy. 🙂

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