I'm sure everyone has a book that they recall whilst jogging down memory lane
back to when they were a toddler. This was my book. Published in 1987 by Willowisp Press Inc.
and written by Margaret Holland
, this book was twenty pages of pure 1980's suburban fear.
My parents bought me many books growing up about manners and ethics, but this one just seemed the oddest and I could not relate to the situational lesson I was being taught by it. I think the only thing this book ever did for me was invoke fear in my little three year old heart of alligators driving Italian sports cars.
It came with a cassette tape. The narrator had one of those dry, flaky voices deplete of any vivaciousness. Each page would have a story of a small child (represented by an animal of some sort) who encountered a stranger. The only one I can really remember is one with a raccoon girl on her way to the zoo. An alligator in a sports car drives up and offers her a ride. At the end of each page, the narrator would say the same line, "I don't know why. Do you?" in response to the decision made by the child.
Along with the book, there was a self-help portion of the tape that had an activity for children to participate in. The child would imagine a friend and then imagine a stranger. I can't remember the purpose, but I have memories of laying in the dark at night imagining my best friend Ashley. I conjured some subplot of this book and believed that the narrator was telling me that there was a warp hole in my wall which would allow for Ashley to come visit me. Of course, I probably got that from playing too much Mario.
There was this awful theme song for the book that went:
"How do you know who's a stranger?
How do you know who's a friend?
Take a look inside,
Think and decide
The answer's inside of you!"
Forget the boogie man, this book gave me nightmares for weeks.