Reviewed by Hilary Hawkes for Readers' Favorite
Don’t Touch That Dart! written by DA Batrowny and illustrated by Diana M Hernandez is a children’s book written for parents who have young children. It is part of the Smart Artt book series which covers developmental related topics. In this story, Artt is left in the care of a babysitter who is instructed not to allow him to get hold of certain unsafe things – in particular a dart on a top shelf. But Artt is clever, and when the babysitter is out of the room, he finds a way to use his tower building skills to climb up to the shelf. There is a surprising and humorous twist in the story when he shows understanding of the dangers of certain items.
Don’t Touch That Dart is more than a short and amusing story. It provides much food for thought regarding young children’s development, safety in the home, and the need to match this to the child’s stage of development. The story indicates how easy it is to underestimate the ability and resourcefulness of young children. Parents will recognize the issues in the story; firstly the subject of making the home safe, and the need to reassess these measures as children become more active and mobile. Then Artt himself shows how children’s cognitive and problem solving skills also change and develop. He uses his tower building abilities (fine and gross motor development) not just for fun, but also in order to solve a problem (ie how to reach something he wants) and to satisfy his curiosity and need to explore. While a fun story, the developmental phase of Artt is clearly shown through the story - physically, cognitively and emotionally - along with what needs to be provided and taken into consideration by parents/carers to meet his needs and keep him safe.
Batrowny provides useful lists at the end of the book of typical development milestones – what to expect of a typical child at various ages – and suggestions for activities that will enhance that development. The color illustrations by Diana M Hernandez complement the text well, the depicted characters conveying the fun and humor in the story. This little book is part of a handy, fun series for parents to share with young children. The link to children’s growth and development make it suitable for students of child development too. Recommended.