Author & Illustrator: Laurel MacQuarrie
Publisher: Little Lamb Tales
One of the most challenging tasks parents can face is teaching your children to follow rules particularly when their safety is at risk. Once our children become more independent and begin to explore the wider world outside of their homes, it is vital that we instruct them about the safety rules concerning stairways, yards, playgrounds and roads. Warnings and explanations must be clear and effective when we give vivid examples of what can happen by disregarding danger.
Author and Illustrator Laurel MacQuarrie’s new “Seefus Series” specifically deals with this hot topic with one of her picture books, Seefus Learns to Obey. MacQuarrie illustrates and writes with a uncomplicated style and tone that integrates goofy rhyming sentences that keep things moving at a brisk pace. Using a specific scenario pertaining to a cute young slug named Seefus, MacQuarrie effectively demonstrates the hazards and consequences of falling into a dangerous situation when rules are not obeyed.
Seefus is well aware of four safety rules that are especially applicable to slugs when going out to play which he summarizes as follows: never eat slug poison pellets, never, ever touch salt, listen and watch for birds, and stay far away from dangerous cement. He understands the first three rules, but the last one he finds silly especially that he likes cement because it is not dirt or grass.
Unfortunately, Seefus has a limited ability to estimate dangers, and throwing caution to the wind, meanders out of his home and finds nearby a slab of slick wet cement. With an abundance of curiosity and a search for adventure, he is elated and as a result traces figure-eights and rounded squares on the cement slab not thinking for one moment that he has broken a very important rule. Suddenly and with little warning Seefus finds himself sucked and wedged between black rubber treads of a moving vehicle that frightfully imprison him as it spins him around. His emotional turmoil begins with the realization that he should never have broken the rules as his dreams of cement had gone terribly amiss. Once he is free, he vows that he will never go for another wild cement ride.
This is one of those children’s books that is a fun read in concept and delivery although the theme nonetheless is quite serious. Once again, MacQuarrie works her magic with digitally enhanced illustrations of Seefus that are magnificently animated with awesome facial expressions. The text with its expressive details compliments the creative assortment of MacQuarrie’s exuberant images that are full of strong colors and movement that effectively extend the story and set the mood.
Parents, teachers, and librarians would do well to consider Seefus Learns to Obey when seeking sources to inform children about the value of obeying safety rules. The book is also a great conversation starter, whether shared in story time, the classroom or one-on-one.
Follow Here To Read Norm’s Interview With Laurel MacQuarrie