|I received a copy of Bitsy Bear free of charge in exchange for this promotional post. My opinion is my own, your experience may vary.|
Bitsy Bear is a story about a little monkey who is stolen from her parents and forced to work in a circus, she is then rescued by her parents and the police. The general idea of the story is that children should stay near their parents to stay safe. I am still torn between the ideas of keeping my kids safe and possibly scaring them with the thought of some stranger taking them away. Does it happen? Yes, but after some research, I discovered that kidnapping doesn't occur quite as often as we might think. In fact, a majority of missing children are found within a few hours, and were not abducted, the caregiver just didn't know where they were. Most of the children that are abducted in the United States are taken by a family member. Only a small percentage of missing children are abducted by someone they don't know. So while a message about staying close to your parent is great, I wonder if it might be best to shift the attention from kidnapping to staying safe, open communication (most children are abused by abducted they know) and knowledge. Children should know their name, phone number, address and their parents' name(s) in case you get separated.
Our neighborhood is filled with children that have free reign of the cul-de-sac. We have children as young as three outside, playing without parent supervision. Rosa is outside almost every day playing with her friends. However when we go out, I like to keep an eye on her. Mostly, I think, just so she doesn't get lost, or to make sure she is behaving, although behavior is rarely a problem.
The book is alright. It's not one of those books that will be read over and over in our home (our girls pick the books we read every night) like "Where the Wild Things Are" or anything by Mercer Mayer. The use of monkeys softens the scariness of Bitsy being kidnapped by a stranger.
I think the story might be good for those who have children who are continuously exploring beyond their parents vision while out in public. It might be a good story to read and talk about all the things that might happen, but most of all how being separated might be scary. It would be a good jumping point for conversation about safety, what to do if you get separated, and other things that might happen. One of our favorite books that covers this topic well is Just Lost by Mercer Mayer.
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