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THE GORP'S GIFT

Author: Sherri Chessen

Illustrator: Dale Duncan Johnson

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Publisher: Round Top Press,

Material: hard cover

Summary: Gorp has come to town and wants to keep children safe. With rhymes and positive words, he helps them to recognize the potential for violence and asks them to promise never to bring guns to school. This is a picture book with an anti-violence, anti-gun message.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, read aloud book, learning to read

Recommended Age: read together: 4 to 8; read yourself: 6 to 9

Interest Level: 5 to 8

Reading Level: 1.6

Age of Child: Read with a 7-year-old girl.

Young Reader Reaction: She spent so much time focusing on Gorp that she didn't listen to the story. We talked about guns after we read it, and she was afraid. The book didn't work for her.

Adult Reader Reaction: This was not what I had anticipated. Because I knew the book was about keeping kids safe from guns, I kept turning the page looking for a story and that message. Frankly, I was disappointed. The story is almost too cute to really get kids engaged in talking about gun violence and gun safety.

Pros: A cute blue character, an ensemble cast of creative creatures, and a rhyming story with silly words will keep kids listening to this story about making a safe choice to stay away from guns.

Cons: It isn't until page 20 that you learn Gorp is trying to give you a gift. You need to "set up" the story by creating a back story of why Gorp is drinking those 29 bottles of ink BEFORE you start reading.

Borrow or Buy: Skip. The pledge at the back is not enough to overcome the cutesy story that glosses over some of the facts kids need to stay safe.

If You Liked This Book, Try: DANGEROUS PLACES; A HOME SAFETY BOOK (Through the Peephole)   STRANGER DANGER!   I NEED TO BE SAFE: I'M WORTH IT!

Educational Themes: This is a story that ends with kids taking a pledge to stay away from guns. This may be a book better suited to community reading that includes someone from your local police department.

Notes: Flesch Kincaid reading level 1.6

Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book series, safety

Date(s) Reviewed: November 2008

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