I Am a Thief! – Perfect Picture Book Friday – #PPBF

There’s something I’d like you to know:

TextⓒAbigail Rayner IllustrationⓒMolly Ruttan

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.”

TextⓒAbigail Rayner IllustrationⓒMolly Ruttan

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:

TextⓒAbigail Rayner IllustrationⓒMolly Ruttan

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!

Resources/Activities:

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?

Check out the website information: “Why Kids Steal and What to Do About It” 

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. 

4 thoughts on “I Am a Thief! – Perfect Picture Book Friday – #PPBF

  1. Joanna says:

    I am embarrassed that I still haven’t read this yet as Abi is a friend. I love so much that she tackles this sensitive issue so cleverly. And surely it applies to us all. And your pairings should provoke some juicy discussions.

  2. Patricia Tilton says:

    That cover speaks volumes — love it! This is the first time I’ve seen this book! Can’t believe it! I have grand kids and a niece that I’m going to get copies for. Thank you so much for sharing it!

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      Yay, Patricia! I think they’ll love it! North South, the publisher, sometimes gets overlooked because they’re a smaller house and the sheer number of PBs published each year is so large. They make great books!

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