A picture-book introduction to the police.
A preface by the author/illustrator’s son Mark R. Levin, a lawyer and Fox News personality, tells readers, “My father…understands that in all walks of life, and in every profession, man’s imperfections present themselves.” But, distressed by “news reports painting police officers…in an extremely negative light,” he was stirred to create this book so that young readers might “learn to respect law and order.” After that beginning, straightforward text combines with simple, childlike illustrations to introduce various types of police officers and what they do, including traffic police, dog handlers, and state troopers. Unsurprisingly, this is an unnuanced, positive portrayal. “When a fierce hurricane hits, the police remain steadfast. Amid the rising floodwaters, they search for missing people and stranded pets.” The book does not fall into the common trap of adducing the criminality of those arrested but not yet tried—indeed, there’s just one depiction of an arrest, in the beam of light cast by a police helicopter as the text reads that its job is to “make sure all is safe in the surrounding neighborhood.” It is deeply unfortunate, however, in a book that is attempting to rehabilitate the police with young audiences, that the vast preponderance of officers depicted appear to be white (as are those they interact with). Nowhere in the book’s determined cheerleading is there room to respect the experiences of those who have lost family members and friends to the police and who themselves feel targeted.
Preaches to the choir. (Informational picture book. 4-8)