Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Signs of Trouble, by Janet Ann Collins, Art by Jack Foster

Signs of Trouble, by Janet Ann Collins, with artwork by Jack Foster, is a true-to-life book with lessons for all children on how to conduct themselves on field trips or any visit to a new place.  The two children in the story, Kim and Amy, are Special Education students.  They become separated from their group and must use what they’ve learned to stay safe, get help, and find their way back to their class.  Kim and Amy do the right thing in staying together and supporting each other until help comes.

Jack Foster’s playful and expressive artwork complements Signs of Trouble quite well.  You clearly see the emotions on the children’s faces.  The seriousness of the subject matter -- children getting lost -- is softened by the colorful images Jack Foster created to accompany the story.  It’s a fine pairing of whimsy and substance.

When I read Signs of Trouble, I recalled my visit to our mall as a substitute teacher with a special needs class.  We successfully practiced meeting the bus, navigating the mall, and eating at the food court.  Our visit went well, but it could have turned out like this book did with kids getting distracted or lost. 

This engaging book will work well for both special education and mainstream children to emphasize the need to pay attention, stay safe, and stick together.  I thank Janet Ann Collins for reminding us of the difficulties faced by special kids and of the care and guidance provided by their teachers and parents.  

Signs of Trouble is published by Guardian Angel Publishing.  Also available on

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