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Otto, Maryleah.

Illustrated by Jude Waples. Toronto, The Women's Press, 1987. 24pp. paper. $4.95. ISBN 0-88961-117-3. CIP

Pre-school to Grade 2
Reviewed by Wendy Carter

Volume 16 Number 5
1988 September

Tom Doesn't Visit Us Anymore is a picture-book for children of about seven and younger. It is a tactful and sensitive Story told from the point of view of a young child who has been sexually abused.

Tom, a friend of the family, develops a special rapport with the little girl, Charlotte. When the incident (touching) happens, Charlotte resists. Tom threatens her and tells her it is "their secret." The reader then goes through all the uncomfortable feelings Charlotte experiences. When Charlotte tells her mother, her mother reassures Charlotte that she didn't do anything bad and that it is Tom who has done something wrong.

Jude Waples' black-and-white illustrations are very tasteful and are another well-planned feature of this book. For example, Charlotte has her toy monkey with her throughout the story, and as her feelings change, so do the monkey's facial expressions. On the last page, both are smiling. The story ends positively because the child knows she did the right thing in telling her mom.

The author, Maryleah Otto (previously a teacher and also a librarian), involves both parents in the story in a lesson for all children: never be afraid to talk to your mom or dad. Otto writes in a down-to-earth, caring style that children will respond to. Parents and teachers will find this book a valuable means of approaching this topic.

Wendy Carter, North Ward, Public School, Paris, Ont.
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