Julia Cook, Author
Allison Valentine, Illustrator
National Center for Youth Issues, Fiction, 2012
Suitable for Ages: 4 and up
Themes: Abduction, Child Safety, Predators, Strangers
Opening: “I was outside playing with Zippy, my new baby rabbit, when I heard my mama calling me. I carefully set Zippy down into a cardboard box and ran inside the house to see what she wanted.”
Synopsis: A mother talks with her daughter about how people come in all shapes and sizes. There are people who are safe people you can go to if ever need help, like a teacher, a store clerk, a police officer, or a mother with children. But, she also explains there are people who aren’t so nice and are Scoopers who “scoop you up, take you away from your family, and try to hurt you.” She teaches her daughter some safety rules to help keep her safe. The little girl is tested when a neighbor comes to school to pick her up. She goes back inside the school and asks to see her “call list” and phones someone on the list to make sure it’s okay. At the grocery store a friendly stranger tries to talk with her and she walks away. She learns that a “scooper” may pretend to need help, or lure her to pet a dog. The girl thinks about everything her mother says and goes to play with her baby rabbit she captures and puts in a box. She comes to a very important realization and makes a big decision.
Why I like this book: Julia Cook’s book is an excellent tool to help parents, teachers, and counselors prepare children with the skills they need to be safe from child abductors. Cook uses the word SCOOP as an acronym to help children remember five personal safety rules. For many children, this could be a frightening topic, but Cook has done an excellent job of approaching this subject in a non-threatening manner. I love the ending when the girl realizes that she is a scooper after she tricks a rabbit away from its mama. What a great way to get a point across. Allison Valentine’s pastel illustrations are colorful and expressive.
Resources: With spring and summer around the corner, this is a good time to discuss personal safety with children. The book alone is a resource for discussion with children. It has back matter and safety rules for both children and parents. This is a book for home and the classroom. Visit Julia Cook’s website, to view the many books she has written.
Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.
Note: On Monday, March 25, I will be reviewing Sharon Draper’s new YA book Panic, about a teenage abduction. This is very important read for teens. There will be a book give away.