There’s something I’d like you to know:
It can happen to the best of us—even to those of us who are little leaders, caring friends, or “Captain of the Worm Rescue Team.”
The part of the brain that governs impulse control, the part that understands the distinction between “mine” and “not mine” can be fully developed in adults and still fall into the trap of rationalization. Let me explain why my action is justified, why what I just did is not considered “stealing.”
What happens when you know you are stealing and follow through with the action anyway? How do you escape the cloud of guilt, the stench of deceit that follows you everywhere?
This is Eliza Jane Murphy’s problem. And a thorny one it is. Here, she gives in to temptation:
It’s not her fault, you see. The stone made her do it. It was just soooo beautiful. How could she resist? So she pocketed that green temptation, that sparkly jewel.
And was instantaneously dogged by guilt.
Her heart “stopped singing” and her obsession with being a thief begins.
But Eliza discovers through the course of this book that “Nobody is just a thief. Everyone is lots of things.”
I love the twist at the end where Eliza finds her father (the one person who told her he’d never stolen a thing!) stealing a piece of cake out of the fridge in the darkened kitchen. Touché!
Make a list of things that people take from school, work, hotels, restaurants, etc..or from other people without thinking. Is it considered stealing? Should it be?
Pair this book with Jon Klassen’s THIS IS NOT MY HAT, I WANT MY HAT BACK, and WE FOUND A HAT. How is stealing rewarded or punished in these books? Are the outcomes different or the same?
TITLE: I AM A THIEF!
AUTHOR: ABIGAIL RAYNER
ILLUSTRATOR: MOLLY RUTTAN
PUBLISHER: NORTH SOUTH BOOKS, 2019
AGES: PRE-K THROUGH 3RD GRADE
THEMES: STEALING AND ITS GRADATIONS, DOING THE RIGHT THING
For more perfect picture book recommendations, please visit Susanna Hill’s blog.