Cover Image: I Am a Thief!

I Am a Thief!

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Member Reviews

I consider myself a pretty open-minded person...and this book took me by surprise. I didn’t like the message AT ALL, and I stopped reading it to my 6 year old a few pages in. I should’ve read it beforehand. The act of stealing and then trying to justify it while also projecting blame onto others was irresponsible....for this to be a story for children?? Definitely not something I would ever read to my kids. If I could give it 0 stars I would.
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I don't like this. It's potentially confusing and conflates unintentional or ignorant acts with actual criminal behaviour.

Eliza Jane Murphy steals a green jewel from a display in her classroom. She knows it's stealing, and she immediately starts feeling bad about it. But rather than immediately doing what she knows she needs to do, she goes around and asks all her family members if they've ever stolen anything. It almost seems like a stalling tactic, or a way of justifying what she's done.

The problem that comes next is that the "stealing" that her family members talk about isn't always "stealing". Especially when it comes to animals and babies. A dog taking sausages, a cat running off with a toy, and a baby eating someone else's sandwich at the beach are only "stealing" in the most literal sense of the word. The intent is different in the cases of Eliza Jane's mother, grandfather, grandmother, and cousin, who are all old enough to know better.

It gets even worse when Eliza Jane then concludes that everyone is a thief. Even her teacher, because the woman has a pencil in her bag that's stamped with the words "Bill's Cafe". How do we know that wasn't a promotional item that was freely given? I just don't like how Eliza Jane turns around and accuses everyone of being a thief so she could feel better about what she did... which was (and she knew this from the very beginning) wrong.

The message is way too confusing in this one. The ending--showing Eliza Jane catching her father "stealing" a piece of cake from the fridge (it's his house, his cake... but whatever!)--just makes me annoyed. Eliza Jane copes with her guilt with projection... and I don't think that's a healthy thing to be teaching young readers.
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This book has such beautiful illustrations! It is a great story infused with humor and an important lesson.
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