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It is a fine line between preparing a child and scaring them…You don’t want to frighten your child and cause them to withdraw. Nor can you ignore the very real threats that exist. Robert Kahn wrote this book within the parameters of that ideal zone. Bobby & Mandee, Too Safe for Strangers is an excellent tool for anyone that cares for children. Unfortunately books like this have become a necessary part of parenting and are included in school curriculum’s nationwide. The book stresses “bad” adults do Not ask children for help, they would ask another adult. (Example – finding a lost pet) “Bad strangers” may offer candy or money to entice a child away from a safe area. Never get into a car with a stranger, no matter what they say. Saying “NO” to adults, yelling at or running from an adult is the opposite of “the respect your elders” lessons most parents instill in their children from a very young age. Which makes all this very confusing for little minds. Too Safe eliminates some of that confusion. We should change ‘how’ we teach kids to interact with adults. If we start telling our children to be respectful to our adult friends and simply polite to a stranger, they can see the difference and will imitate the behavior. Too Safe also includes a test at the end of the book. This should be used to further the discussion, allowing your child to explain their answer in their own words. Thus giving parents an insight into how they are receiving the information and lets you know if they do not understand something.
It is imperative that children understand “bad strangers” can be men or women, young or old. Because there’s no way to identify the kind of strangers children must avoid, rules have to be consistent. The wording and simple illustrations used in “Too Safe”deliver this message in ways kids can understand. Their image of a “bad person” is the boogie-man type…scary, dirty, with fangs, only comes out at night, etc. This books helps them to reimagine a “bad person” realistically. Odds are your child will never encounter one of these “bad strangers,” but if they do, at least they are prepared.
It is very sad that our society has become such a dangerous place for children. But the statistics don’t lie, and we, as parents cannot afford to lie to ourselves. Parents will do anything to protect their children..this little book can help you do that. This isn’t the kind of book you read one time and forget. This is something that needs to be reinforced on a regular basis, especially with younger children. By role playing the scenes in this book and going over the questions in the back, children become more and more comfortable with appropriate responses. And that’s all a loving parent can do.
Bullies have been around since the beginning of time…well, I can’t speak for that far back, but I know for sure back to the 70’s, because I was bullied. Back then everyone said “ignore them and they will pick on someone else,” or “tough up,” everyone gets picked on. The general rule of thought was “bullies are just part of growing up…and it just makes you stronger.” No one took it seriously! Thank goodness times are changing. But we have a long way to go and Too Smart for Bullies is a step in the right direction. The book opens the door to a difficult subject, and gives parents a tool to help children deal with bullies. Once again Bobby & Mandee team up in various scenarios demonstrating appropriate responses if your child is confronted by a bully. Parents are encouraged to role and reverse role play the scenes, followed by the questions and trusted adult list included at the end of the book. Too Smart is a good tool to have in your arsenal against bullies. Speaking from experience, dealing with bullies is no easy task, books like this wouldn’t have stopped the bullies, I would’ve known what to do.
I read these books with my 3.5 year old granddaughter several times before donating both to her preschool class . We role played and reverse role played the scenarios in the book. The questions in the back helped us make up our own skits and reassured me that she was understanding the information. We practice what we learned when we go out..if someone says “oh you’re a pretty lil girl,” she squeezes my hand tight and simply says “thank you.” When we run into friends we stop and talk with them, shake hands, give hugs, etc. At first she was uncomfortable not talking to strangers who speak to us first…but the more we do it, it’s become habit for her now. (Which is wonderful!)
4 stars – I recommend this Too Smart/Too Safe to the “Trusted Adults” children are told repeatedly in these books to confide in if they find themselves in a bad situation. (parents, grandparents, guardians, babysitters, teachers, librarians, emergency workers, etc.)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Robert Kahn has a Master’s Degree in Education. It was during Kahn’s tenure as a sixth grade teacher that he became concerned about the safety issues that involve children and decided to become a Deputy Sheriff to help educate and protect our youth from harm. He started a Stranger Danger program in local schools and community service organizations. Local law enforcement credits this program in foiling over 40 attempted abductions by strangers. To-date, Robert has given over 20,000 presentations covering 15 different topics on children’s safety issues.
Kahn’s mission is to keep all kids safe, but he can’t be everywhere at the same time. So, with the insight and knowledge gained from his experiences, Kahn began to write a series of children’s safety books. His first book, Bobby and Mandee’s Too Safe for Strangers, is based on his program. His other safety books help children learn how to deal with today’s problems.
All of his books are told in the voice of his own children, Bobby and Mandee! Kahn’s daughter Mandee is the main character although Bobby plays a very important role in the books. As a high-functioning autistic, “If he can understand the books, anybody can!” Kahn stresses the books simplicity so that anyone can benefit from them. Using simple language, the books introduce the concepts and then provide tips on how to deal with them.
The main age when something happens to a child is second grade through young adult. As kids start doing more things alone, it is imperative that they know how to help themselves to stay safe. The goal of the Bobby and Mandee Safety Series is to provide parents, educators and other trusted adults with essential information to share with our precious children to keep them safe in today’s world.