Sunday, June 12, 2011

I Sit and Stay

Buy your favorite little hiker a great gift here!

Book/Survival Kit • 40 pages • Full color • $19.95

I kept looking in the middle of the clothing racks, but he wasn't in the one he was in a second ago. I called his name and told him to come back. I then spied two small legs poking out from the bottom of a shelf filled with sweaters. "Why didn't you come when I was calling your name?" He grinned that half smile with his eyebrow raised that meant I was in for trouble and said, "I was lost and was sitting and staying." I have been discussing safety in the woods for a while now, but I wasn't ready for him to use it against me!

The author of this book (and her dog) is a member of a search and rescue team. Instead of filling parents with fear, it provides practical information. Leah Waarvik's unique approach gives the reader statistics, skills and knowledge only a seasoned search and rescuer could provide. It has sections for parents so they can better explain topics to the children. The main story is aimed at children and teaches them what to do when lost.

From the author:
I decided to write I Sit and Stay after hearing stories of children who were lost and unprepared. I came to realize that the great presentations put on by search-and rescue teams weren’t reaching enough children......I wanted to create an option that was a bit more available and interactive for families that enjoy being outdoors. I Sit and Stay covers the basic principles of survival and is meant to initiate an interactive process between adults and children. - Leah Waarvik

I love the pictures in this book. It is a combination of cut out pictures and child drawn images. The dogs are so funny all sitting in front of a chalkboard at dog school and the lost child with huge garbage bag over him are clever. My 18 month old loves looking at the dogs and my three year old seems to be drawn to the crayon drawings.

You can visit this website and learn about the dogs in the book. I loved this especially amusing description:

Bandit is a member of (CARDA) California Rescue Dog Association and also of (ALCOSAR) Alameda County Sheriff's Department Search and Rescue Team. He’s been certified in Area for 8 years now and is also training for C-1 (land human remains). In his spare time he likes to herd sheep and cattle. He likes to show occasionally as long as there are good treat involved and girls to meet. Bandit now has a son and a grandson that are also in Search and Rescue.

My children are a bit young for this book and amount of words per page, but my three year old enjoyed the story that I made up paraphrasing the main ideas. We talked about how dogs can find you if lost, how to use a whistle so that I can come running and that a plastic bag keeps you warm and dry. I would love a version aimed at even younger kids though!

I like how the book moves beyond the hug a tree to tell kids to sit and stay where you can be found. It explains how the dogs can find you (smell and scent), that helicopters might be searching and that there are things they should do. For a bit extra, you can get the book along with survival tools. A mirror, whistle and bright yellow bag can easily be taken on your next hike.

While parents don't like to think about losing their child on a hike, it does happen. This book can help parents understand how to react and prepare children for what steps they should take. It also gives hints for parent such as using aluminum foil to make a copy of your child's shoe print. This makes tracking them easier for rescuers!

I give this book my Alaskan Mom Approval as it opens the discussion of procedures when lost (for parents and kids), has wonderfully amusing pictures and is written by a real life rescuer (and her dog) who even autographed my copy!

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