Based on the Canadian animated video series of the same name, this collection of six stories about a diverse democratic city and its governing body frames some of the very important conversations that adults need to have with children about rights and freedoms and accepting difference.
Each story begins with a problem facing the councilors or the citizens, which is then followed by a vote on some law—but the real lesson comes when the execution of the laws brings unintended and “unfair” consequences. Mayor Moe observes the squabbling, untidy city council and decides to impose a uniform, for instance. This excludes Councillors Twist and Cuddly, who are required by their religions to wear head coverings, so the city council re-examines its law. Councillor Bug often breaks the fourth wall to point out when a law or consequence of a law is unfair. It’s a kid-friendly device, as is the book’s built-in interactive element. Each story ends with an extended discussion, followed by questions. These questions (What was the purpose of the law? Was it achieved? Were there any problems that arose from it?) will prompt conversations and ensure clarity on the messages received from each tale. Further reinforcement comes in a wrap-up note at the end. Patel’s comical illustrations, also based on the animated series, are consistently entertaining; the vibrant and charismatic creatures offer a rainbow of fur colors and body types and a broad range of expressions.
A solid civics and civil-liberties primer. (Nonfiction. 7-12)