by Karrie Loomis
Michaela and Sylvia are sent out to play on what seemed like a normal, hot, weekend afternoon. They discover an abandoned house and couldn’t just walk away. But they find themselves trapped in a room so dark that they were not able see anywhere but inwards. Before they can escape, they meet a ghostly girl who is on a mission that just might save them from real live monsters…
“It was a nail biter and the perfect book for kids to teach them about ‘Stranger Danger’.”
“When I read this book I knew it was written in way that would capture her attention and boy did it! She read it all in one reading. What a wonderful approach to very serious subject.”
“I LOVE that this book is from a child’s perspective.”
CIR: What gave you the idea to teach about stranger danger through a children’s story?
LOOMIS: Being unable to find a book for my children’s age group, that would both entertain them and warn them about the danger of getting into a car with people who they are not supposed to inspired me to write this book. The Rocking Horse is an elaborated version of a story I told my kids one morning while driving them to school. It is one of the ways I have tried to instill in them the importance of never getting into a car with strangers. I also wanted to show them through just one more outlet that their bond as sisters should be stronger than anything that they may encounter throughout life.
CIR: What themes do you address in this book?
LOOMIS: The characters realize that even though they annoy each other, as siblings always do, they love each other very much. They also experience what it means to work together, to be brave, to believe in themselves, and to put an effort into their actions. And of course, as already mentioned, they learn why not to go off with people when they do not have their parents’ direct permission. The girls also learn about the Pick-Up-Password, a family password used in emergency situations when parents do actually need someone to pick up their children without having been able to discuss it first.
CIR: What do you hope your readers will get out of this book?
LOOMIS: My biggest hope is that, through this book, I can reach out to many children, reminding them to never get into a car with strangers. At this age (8-12yrs) our kids should hear more than, “Don’t talk to strangers.” because that is actually not complete advice, as we all actually do talk to strangers almost every day. This book is a unique, entertaining, relatable and memorable story that gently gives our children the reason why they should not go into stranger’s car or house.
CIR: Are any of the characters like you or someone you know?
LOOMIS: Yes, the two main characters are based on my daughters and their relationship with each other. The sisters fight like cats and dogs, but when it comes down to it, they would do anything for each other. And I will admit the mother is based off my -impatient- self as well.
CIR: What makes The Rocking Horse unique?
LOOMIS: This is more than a mere picture book (there are no pictures at all) about stranger danger. This is a story that older children can relate with. Being that they can relate to the characters, they are more likely to listen and understand the impact and the importance of the message. “Don’t get into a car with someone you are not supposed to.” The message comes from a ghost child their age who made the fatal mistake of doing just what she is warning against.