The story is narrated by Rhymer, a curious cockroach. The book is set in Honeytown, a place where both kids and grown ups sometimes break the rules. When the adults do something very wrong they can sometimes be sent to jail. Rhymer’s friends Bella and Lyla bear visit their dad who is in prison, and Rhymer explains that it’s not the nicest place to be and the prisoners can get very sad and miss their families. The story covers many aspects of everyday prison life, what happens in court, how inmates feel and what happens when prisoners don’t get along. When Rhymer himself commits a crime he is shocked to be sent to prison and feels he is not like all the ‘bad animals’; that are already there, but spending some time with them he begins to realise that it is easy to misjudge others. The book ends on a positive note, with Daddy Bear’s release and return to his family, and Rhymer promising to think twice about behaving badly in future.
Although the sheer range of subjects covered in this picture book is quite overwhelming at first glance, it is really worth persevering as there are so many useful and comforting messages in the story. The author has illustrated the book beautifully and it is very clear that it is a subject he feels very passionate about. This very appealing book is highly recommended and fills a void as there are very few books available on this subject.
This book is a good starting point for a conversation about what is right and wrong and the consequences of actions. It successfully explores the complex subjects of crime, justice, morality, rehabilitation, forgiveness and prison life in a child-friendly way, challenging common assumptions as it goes.