September 23, 2016

Rights and freedoms

That's Not Fair!: Getting to Know Your Rights and Freedoms
by Danielle S. McLaughlin
illustrated by Dharmali Patel

Mayor Moe and his councillors try to run their wacky city by enacting all sorts of new laws that end up trampling their citizens' rights. They then have to patch up the resulting chaos. Some of the controversial laws they enact include no lights on after dark, no saying anything bad or critical, and no hats and protests allowed. 

Councillor Bug, a firefly, is first to squeak "not fair!", but no one listens to her. Her frustrated expressions mirror that of children, who have an innate sense of fairness and don't like being ignored. Each story ends with the same three questions: what was the purpose of the law, did it work, and were there any unexpected results? No answers are given, which encourages discussions about civics and democracy. It also hones critical thinking skills and ways of disagreeing that is fair and respectful.

The characters are a motley collection of animals, bugs, and monsters with bright, funny features that are very appealing. It keeps the tone light and maintains child interest. The book is an excellent way to develop kids' understanding of rights and freedoms.

Highly recommended.

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