Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ferocious Wild Beasts!

by Chris Wormell,
Alfred A. Knopf, 2009

A boy is lost in the forest, and worries about his mother's reaction if he ever finds his way home. After all, she'd warned him repeatedly about the threat of ferocious, wild beasts. But the beasts he meets all seem friendly and helpful and just as scared as he is of running into such dangerous creatures.

While it's true that animals are often just as afraid of humans as we are of them, I think this book does children a disservice in leading them to believe that they'd have nothing to fear alone in the forest. Mountain lions and raccoons, for example, are seldom afraid of humans, can be quite dangerous, and certainly would not be safe to approach.

bottom line: the illustrations are quite charming, but the message less so. What were the author and publisher thinking? Leave this one on the shelf.

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