A child’s glimpse of a serious issue

Published January 2, 2008

The Cardboard Shack Beneath the Bridge is a rhyming picture book about homelessness.

The author, Tim Ruff, writes that homeless people are like everyone else. They have dreams and hopes just like you and me.  For me that was one of the highlights. Compassion was a big theme of his book.

[pullquote]There are examples of what you may come across in real life that I found helpful. For example, homeless people may look funny or scary, and they may want food or they may be panning for money. You may come across a shack where a homeless person lives. There was a good picture of one. But some of them just want a smile and someone to talk to. The author cautioned that kids should be with a grown-up when they talk to a homeless person.

At the end of the book there are discussion pages to read through with a parent. I found those very informative. I learned that homeless people should be treated with respect like you and me. I also learned the reasons why people are homeless.

But I was frustrated with the book because it didn’t have as much information as I had hoped. I felt like I already knew most of what was in the book.The discussion pages helped but I still felt this book would be more enjoyable for younger kids around five to seven years old. The illustrations and rhymes were good.

This book doesn’t make you feel inclined to help. It doesn’t emphasize how serious a matter homelessness is and how we can make a difference.

Laura Welchner is a 10-year-old homeschooler.  Her interests include figure skating, musical theatre and dance.


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