Another book for parents and kids to keep them all nice and safe. Not bad, but certainly not great. Since this book was published in the early 1980s, most people believed that sexual assault was the creepy stranger, when in actuality it is more likely to be someone known to the victim. This publication coincides with national media coverage of the disappearance of Etan Patz and the murder and abduction of Adam Walsh.
There is, and was, a lot of material produced that addressed the issues of stranger danger and child exploitation. Not surprisingly, quite a few titles have ended up memorialized here on our site for a variety of reasons. Be sure to check out the links to other titles.
Stranger Danger was all the rage in the 80s. I think this particular book takes the cake in victim blaming and scaring the crap out of any kid and adult. (I slept with the light on after I read this book.) Nice graphic scenarios on kidnapping are laid out in color for the kids to really get a feel for the terror. Not much on prevention either. I guess the kids are doomed. The message was loud and clear: Don’t let this happen to you.
Can we PLEASE retire the whole “strangers are scary” genre for the picture book crowd? From what I understand, kids need to be more afraid of people they actually know.
Submitter: I found this book on my local urban public library. I think it was a good purchase for 1983. A bit scary, but that’s one way to present the information. However, more than half this book covers states’ rights on how to defend yourself. Out of date now. Just as an example, Florida’s Stand Your Ground law was enacted in 2005. That won’t be covered in this book.
Holly: Suuuuper creepy cover! Look, this book is filled with outdated statistics. That alone makes it a weeder for most public libraries.
Side note: The section [included below] about sleepwalkers creeped me right the heck out. Little known fact: I’m a chronic sleepwalker. I have regular (weekly-ish) episodes where I lash out and scream and holler. The Husband is not amused, but really he should be thanking me. I’m trying to save his life, ya know? We can never have a firearm in our bedroom.