Mitzi and the Big Bad Nosy Wolf: A Digital Citizenship Story

Holiday House. Jan. 2022. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780823445172.
K-Gr 3–Mitzi the fluffy lamb is too excited to heed warnings about strangers from her mom and dad as she heads out to go dancing in the forest. Her parents remind her to bring a friend, but all her buddies are busy. While the exuberant Mitzi practices her moves, the tango and the funky chicken, a wolf hides behind a tree, watching. Woodland friends look on in dread as he approaches the lamb and asks her name; now Mitzi remembers everything her parents told her. Regretting that she hadn’t listened to her parents, Mitzi now must put their rules into action. “That’s PRIVATE!” she says firmly. The wolf wants to take her picture. “No one takes my picture without permission,” she retorts. When he asks to dance with her, Mitzi has a plan and tells him to show her the Charleston. Can Mitzi tire out the scheming wolf and get away? Teresa Bateman’s hilarious riff on “Little Red Riding Hood” fasts forward to finding oneself in a dangerous situation with a stranger. Subtitled “A Digital Citizenship Story,” the tale ends with a list of rules to stay safe online, including those covered in the plot. Other rules cover heeding age requirements for websites, and warnings about plagiarism and use of copyrighted materials. It is never too early to teach safe and responsible online usage: this story is intended for early elementary readers, but the rules may miss the audience to whom they are directed. Bold illustrations depict a classic fairytale forest and cottage, a wolf with dastardly expressions, and a lamb who’s more artful than she looks.
VERDICT A cautionary tale about strangers for the young set.

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