This German import teaches readers not to go with strangers.
The opening page consists of the list of people who are allowed to pick Lu up from school. If they’re not on the list or Mama and Papa haven’t told her about it beforehand, she won’t go with them. And Geisler tests the tyke mightily. Lu is stalwart throughout: “I don’t know you, so I won’t go with you!”; “Mama said I should wait.” The imaginative girl considers how one really knows a person. Ms. Smith lives in Lu’s neighborhood, but Lu doesn’t know her first name. Ralph is helping Lu’s dad build a shed, but “Does he wash his own stinky socks?” Then comes a man in a dark car. After it’s started to rain. He claims to know Lu’s mother. He’s the only person who causes Lu to drop her smile, and readers will pick up on that. Lu’s repeated refusals to person after person make for an effective modeling of behavior. Geisler makes her point that you can’t judge people by their appearances when Lu finally leaves with a man in a studded leather jacket and combat boots—her brother Phil. A fill-in-the-blank page at the end allows children and their caregivers to make their own lists. Geisler’s imaginings help lighten the mood of the serious topic; her characters all seem to be white.
Addresses a vital topic in a humorous and nonthreatening way and gives readers a way to respond politely but firmly to even well-meaning adults. (Picture book. 3-8)