By: Tonya and Chad Walker
Illustrated by: Troy Palmer-Hughes
Publication Date: July 2012
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: November 2012
What if your child was shopping with you, say, during the busy holiday season, when the local mall was overflowing with people? Would she know what to do if the two of you were separated? Would she ask a clerk for help or mistakenly head to the front of the store where a child predator could easily snatch her? What if she was alone at home when a stranger knocks at the front door? Would she answer it? In this very important new book, written expressly for children, we are given example after example of “what if” scenarios along with what to do, and what NOT to do.
The book opens with a few pages which ask the child to fill out some simple, but very important, information such as contact phone numbers for trusted adults as well as a page for the family’s “special code word,” along with an explanation of just what a code word is and why it should never be given to anybody, not even your best friends.
Along with the previously mentioned examples, this book also covers what to do when a stranger offers candy, asks for help finding a lost pet, and if someone asks for personal information over the Internet. More than simply repeat the oft heard “don’t do it because you might get hurt,” this book tells the child why it could be dangerous (without getting into any frightening details). For example, for the Internet example, we’re told, “The person on the other end may pretend to be a child or friend but really could be an adult intending to harm you.”
My “What If?” Book is fairly brief but manages to get its point across quickly and without extraneous details that might cause children to lose interest. In addition, the drawings are bright, and when I say bright, I mean in a psychedelic, funky, multi-colored text and cartoon picture sort of way. They’re fun and engaging, the “bad people” are creepy but not in a scary way, and there’s so much to see on each page that readers won’t be able to turn away.
There is a Foreword in this book that gives a nice overview for parents and caregivers about the “What if” game, “...which uses hypothetical scenarios to teach children how to react in a potentially dangerous situation.” The Foreword makes the very important point of being proactive, that you must not wait until it is too late to teach your children about strangers.
We all know the importance of teaching children about the dangers of child abduction, and this book goes a long way in helping you get that message to your little ones. Be proactive, get a copy of My “What If” Book and play the game with your children often so that it becomes second nature to them.
Quill says: Every household with young children should have a copy of this book. Don’t wait!