Well, ladies and gentleman, the time has come for me to put on my big girl pants and tell you about a book I didn’t like. This is my first negative book review for two reasons. First, I am not a confrontational person. As a matter of fact, for all of you who are loving all the talk about Enneagram personality traits, I tested as a 9-the Peacemaker, with second place scoring as the Helper, and third, the Loyalist. It is Not in my nature to call someone out in a public forum to say negative things about work they obviously put effort into. (Trust me! Publishing books, “even” children’s books, is hard work!) That said, if I am going to review children’s books, I have to toughen up! No one is going to trust a reviewer who thinks all books are wonderful, because let’s be honest, they aren’t. Secondly, I wanted to open the blog with as positively and as upbeat as possible. But now it is time to get to it!
The great news is that even a book that I don’t love can still be an excellent teaching moment for my children!!! Did you hear me? Just because I review a book and score it with a 3 or less, please don’t think that means I don’t think you should read it. If anything, I think it means you should be prepared, and consider reading it to yourself before reading it aloud to your children (if you choose to do that). It might mean you have to prepare to answer some questions or maybe even ask some yourself. Being ready to engage them is key, and that is precisely what I encourage you to do with this week’s book.
Ugh. Can you see it? Can you see from the eyes of a mother who is desperately trying to teach her toddlers about the dangers of running into the street, why I cringe even looking at the cover of this book by Adam Lehraupt? When a parent struggles to make his or her children that “no” means “no,” and “don’t” means “don’t,” the last thing those parents need is a book that breaks all those rules, and encourages the exact opposite. Some parents will think I am overreacting, but when we live in a society where even our precious babies are not safe from predators, whether it is a traffic sign or the spoken word, I want my kids to know the power that should be in the word “STOP!”
Unfortunately this book begs the children to stop at every page, showing these realistic images of traffic warning signs they recognize as pointing out danger, but of course, logic dictates they are really meant to turn the page anyway. While I read this with every ounce of drama and enthusiasm as the book called for, (as all true book lovin’ mamas do), I absolutely hated myself for it on the inside. Even knowing that I had role play and field trip activities in place to “erase” any mixed messages they may have received, I couldn’t help but cringe at how much the kids liked being rebellious. Yes, it is true. The kids giggled and jumped at every chance to ignore and disobey the narrator. They have asked to read it more than once, but after a couple reads, I had to conveniently hide it in the library bag. (Out of sight, out of mind.)
- Age appropriate words and tone -Yes
- Age appropriate messaging – NO
- Engaging illustrations – Yes, but not necessarily appropriate use
- Inspire growth, imagination, or thought- Yes
- Sustainable interest over multiple reads- No
- I would rate this book a 3 out of 5!
You’ve Read the Book, Now What
Role Play Games
Do you remember “Red Light/Green Light?” Now is the perfect time to introduce that game to a new generation! You might even go so far as to help them make “lights” out of paper plates, construction paper, tape or glue, and a couple of wooden skewers or popsicle sticks.
CALL YOUR CITY
Lastly, I highly suggest calling your city’s Public Works office! I was so happy I did. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what I was going to even ask them, but I knew I had an agenda they would think was important- I wanted to teach my kids about the importance of the safety/traffic signs they would see around town. I am so glad I called! It just so happens they too think it is a critical mission, and have a public event coming up THIS month! Call the office, or check out their website/facebook page, or send someone an email, maybe you will find an event like ours is on their schedule, or perhaps you will inspire them to plan one! If you live in the Kansas City area, you should come check out what is happening in Blue Springs.