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Stranger Danger Lesson in a Fun Read Aloud Book

Cindy Hewitt is a retired teacher with a passion for children's literature. Read-aloud stories add quality to a child's life experiences.

Who Is a Stranger?

It's back to school time and young children are attending preschool and kindergarten. Teaching the concept of "stranger danger" is important to teach without scaring young children. David LaRochelle has the perfect read aloud with his book "This Is Not a Cat!" to help with introducing this concept to young children.

Mouse School is in session for the new school year and the teacher is using pictures of things that are not danger threats to teach her young students about the things that might be a threat to them. One picture is an example of what can be a threat. Young readers will have fun identifying the non-threatening items such as the ice cream and butterfly. What is the threat to little mice? A surprise enters the classroom and all of the young students must decide if this is a real danger.

"This Is Not a Cat!" is appealing to preschoolers with its large illustrations by Mike Wohnoutka. The large and colorful illustrations fill each page with action that is taking place in the classroom. Young readers will enjoy identifying with the school setting. Familiar objects such as an easel and desks will engage young readers who are going back to school. The text is also appealing to young readers in that LaRochelle's text is printed in large letters for easy reading. The story lends itself to dramatic reading with several pages containing text in larger than life print to emphasize loud voices. The story also is helpful in helping young readers learn the lesson that things are not always what they seem to be. This fun read aloud is a page turner for young readers who will want to see what happens next as the story unfolds.

"This Is Not a Cat!" was published by Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. and is recommended for ages 3-7. It has an ISBN of 978-1-4549-1574-4. It is available at Barnes and Noble Bookstore.

Fun Read Aloud to Teach Stranger Danger Concept

What is a stranger danger?

What is a stranger danger?

School lessons

School lessons

Danger? Not a danger?

Danger? Not a danger?

Get Acquainted with David LaRochelle and Illustrator Mike Wohnoutka

David LaRochelle is a former teacher and has enjoyed writing children's books for many years. He has won numerous awards for his books, which include the Sid Fleischman Humor Award and the Minnesota Book Award. His books also include a number of picture books for young children. You may visit his website to learn more about his books at

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Mike Wohnoutka contributed his talent as an illustrator to "This Is Not a Cat!" with his large and colorful illustrations. He has previously worked with LaRochelle on the book "Moo!". He has also won several awards for his illustrations. You may learn more about his work by visiting his website at

Wohnoutka's Illustration Shows the Danger to Little Mice

Illustration helps to identify the correct danger

Illustration helps to identify the correct danger

Tips for Teaching Stranger Danger to Young Children

Teachers and parents want to teach young children about the danger in our world without scaring them. The tone of one's voice is important when talking about this subject. Young children easily pick up on the fright that a parent's tone of voice might show when talking about this subject. The choice of words is also important. Choose words that do not portray a scary situation. Choose an example that a child is familiar with to illustrate the concept of identifying a stranger. Tell your child that a stranger is someone that the family does not know well. You can also tell them that looks do not always matter in identifying a stranger. Point out the good strangers in a child's life. These good strangers include police, firefighters, and store clerks if a child is lost in a store.

Role play with your child. Role playing with a trusted adult can instill confidence. Tell your child to stay close when the family is shopping. Stay close and walk with a group when on a filed trip with teachers and friends. Stay close to the family or friends when in a crowd. Last, but not least, if the child is grabbed, scream, kick, or bite.

Scream in a Loud Voice if You are Grabbed

Illustration lends itself to dramatic role of screaming if in danger

Illustration lends itself to dramatic role of screaming if in danger

Quiz Your Child on Ways to Stay Safe

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. How do you identify a stranger?
    • A person who you don't know very well
    • By their clothes
  2. Who can be a good stranger?
    • Police, firefighter
    • Someone who walks up to you in a park or playground
  3. What should you do if you are grabbed?
    • Scream, kick, or bite
    • Use a quiet voice

Answer Key

  1. A person who you don't know very well
  2. Police, firefighter
  3. Scream, kick, or bite

Tools to Teach Stranger Danger


Kathleen Cochran from Atlanta, Georgia on August 22, 2016:

A school-aged girl in our community was approached by two men in a pickup with the offer of a puppy if she'd get in the truck. She not only didn't go near them, but she had the presence of mind to look past them and yell to someone that she would be right there. The men fled. There was nobody for her to yell to, she was just pretending. Smart girl who who someone had talked to about this scenario ahead of time!

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