Friday, September 24, 2010

Dear Little Lamb,

by Christa Kempter & Frauke Weldin

This cautionary tale could be required reading for streetproofing and online safety lessons. In it, a wolf watches a young lamb in a meadow, and decides he simply must capture this lamb. Since he is not so young any more, he decides to use his wits and a little trickery, instead, and sits down to write a letter befriending the tender young thing. The lamb writes back innocently, and a correspondence springs up.

After some time, the wolf proposes that they meet, and Mama Sheep says that she must meet the penpal, first. Little Lamb isn't happy about it, but mama is suspicious, and goes to the meeting time, where she confronts him and forces him to write a goodbye letter to Little Lamb, ending the deception without hurting her child's feelings. As for the family, they felt they would be safer moving to Australia, where there are lots of sheep.

The book hammers home the point that not everyone is what they seem, that there is the potential for real danger, and that not everyone who says they are a friend really is - all without being so alarmist and scary that it will upset a young child. I like that it also shows the child communicating with the mother about the notes he receives and that even though he is not happy with the mother's decision, a child can see that she is protecting him from something harmful. Excellent.

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