By Susan Johnson
Watch Out, Wanda! A Cautionary Safety Tale by Elizabeth Brown and illustrated by Tamara Ohr, is a highly visual children’s book aimed at youngsters in the lower elementary grades or ages 2-8.
Wanda is a young girl who makes a trip by herself to the public library and, after getting a book, is entrusted by her father to walk home safely. Along the way, she encounters various obstacles and potentially dangerous situations, such as a fierce, growling dog; a car that narrowly misses her as she steps out in front of it, her eyes on the book she got at the library; a work crew demolishing a building; baseball players and a ball that almost hits her in the head; and an adventurous skateboarder.
This is a book of few words in which the illustrations tell the bulk of the story. Eventually, Wanda makes it home safely to her father, after violating most of the safety rules listed at the back. Titled “Wanda’s Wise Words for Walking,” they are addressed to “Parents and Educators” and suggest that the adult “discuss, practice and role play walking safely with your child. Together, search back through the illustrations with your child to decide if Wanda is following her own walking rules!”
This is truly a case of “a picture is worth 1,000 words.” Young children will be intrigued by the large, colorful illustrations that manage to present the case for safety with a touch of humor.
From the Dec. 18-24, 2013, issue