Miles may be 6, but he’s in charge of his body anyway, isn’t he?
In this montage of simple, cartoony characters set against photographic backgrounds, readers are introduced to Miles, who is about to celebrate his sixth birthday with his family and desperately looks forward to his favorite: “double-meaty-pepperoni-sausage-pineapple-hold-the-onions-extra-cheesy birthday pizza!” But before the pizza man arrives, Grandpa has to give Miles’ cheek a pinch, and brother Scotty bestows a serious noogie, and Aunt Millie sends a suffocating hug (via Miles’ mom), and Dad lifts him off the floor (“ Dad, please put me down!”). Then a guy in a chicken suit arrives to tickle Miles. Miles blows his stack before retreating to his room for some time alone. Mom knocks. “Am I in trouble?” asks Miles. “No,” says his mom. “We’re here to tell you how proud we are of you.” Dad pipes in: “No one should ever touch you in ways you don’t want to be touched.” Though the story is ham-fisted to the point of being a pork shoulder with the bone in, and though neither the artwork nor the text will last, the point probably will sink in. As the endnote states, “Roughly 90% of the harm done to children is not by a stranger, but by someone they know.”
Even if the worst thing this book prevents is an unwanted noogie, it is still doing a service. (Picture book. 4-8)