Friday, February 9, 2024

*Review* Sammy the Sasquatch by Claire Marie


Genre: Children's 3-7 years
Published: April 18, 2023
Pages: 30

Little readers and their loved ones are invited to the magical world of Crittertopia and introduced to the Critter Elders whose magic helps keep it safe in Claire Marie's new and empowering children's book Sammy the Sasquatch: Welcome to Crittertopia. Readers in the 4 to 8-year-old age group and beyond meet Sammy the Sasquatch and her friends in Crittertopia who gently teach us all about doing lockdowns, locks, lights, out of sight, and how kids can be empowered to keep themselves safe.

In Sammy the Sasquatch, Sammy and her Forest Friends show readers around Crittertopia and help teach them how they can keep it safe from curious humans who accidentally wander in. The Critter Elders teach kids how to do a lockdown, "locks, lights, out of sight," and normalize this practice in a trauma-informed (non-scary) way.

With a delightful blend of informative content, magical setting, and adorable illustrations, Sammy the Sasquatch is the first children's book to clearly teach the steps of doing a lockdown through an imaginative yet relatable story. This book also provides a four-page learning guide to support parents and caring adults on how to have trauma-informed conversations with kids on emergency preparedness.

I received a copy of this book through Netgalley. This is my honest review. 

This is a story about a sasquatch named Sammy who is taking your children on a tour of her hometown. They end up at her school, which is very much like a human school when an unexpected human shows up and they have to enact their special human security protocol. They talk about being very quiet and turning off the lights and hiding, and it was at about that point that I realized this was basically describing a lockdown drill, which just made me sad, because I hate that that is a thing students in America have to do on a regular basis for safety. But I can see how this book could help teachers of very young students explain it to their classes to make the drills themselves less scary. 

The illustrations were very bold and colorful, and as fun as they can be considering the subject matter. I wouldn't want to read this book more than one as the subject matter makes me angry, but I also came to the book after my kids were old enough to not need this kind of coddling to practice for a potential school shooting. So in spite of my feelings on the subject matter, I give this book 4.328 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

School Emergency Management Expert, Trauma Informed Practices Consultant, and former Reserve Law Enforcement Officer, Claire Marie has led efforts to support community and systems level trauma informed and resilience practices through education, implementation, and evaluation since 2015. Her work spans across K-12 school emergency preparedness & management, school safety & prevention systems, community service agencies, and law enforcement mental health and wellness. She is passionate about approaching emergency preparedness through a trauma-informed lens and supporting others to do the same.

Working as a leader in K-12 school safety and emergency management, Claire Marie often hears about young kids and adults struggling with lockdown drills. In her new book, Sammy the Sasquatch: Welcome to Crittertopia she hopes to support adults in lifting the veil of secrecy and silence around practicing lockdown drills through trauma-informed stories along with a magical world that safely introduce kids to different practices that empower them to keep safe, every day, regardless of what is going on in the world around them.

Connect with Claire Marie at, on Facebook at Sammy & Friends, and on Instagram @WelcomeToCrittertopia

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