Modern Cautionary Verse for Young Children Sally Andersen and Louise Soloway Chan ($80) I suspect everyone grew up knowing at least one of the children in Sally Andersen's book. Tilly, the girl who played with matches, Mandy, who ate her mother's pills thinking they were sweets, and Freddie, who leant out of windows. Their sad cautionary tales are ready-made for parents to pluck out of the air whenever children are caught attempting something naughty or dangerous. Andersen, a Hong Kong resident, has brought together 11 such children and turned their experiences of not doing what they are told into poems in Modern Cautionary Verse For Young Children. It's a good idea and one that many parents will welcome when trying to get the safety message across to any child whose sense of adventure and curiosity is far more developed than their common sense. The story of Freddie, who takes a tumble after climbing and leaning out of a window, is particularly relevant in this high-rise city. Likewise, the verse about Roger who gets bitten petting a stray dog is a lesson I am constantly preaching to my three children. Not all the youngsters in Andersen's collection are naughty or careless. Good children are also given a well-deserved mention. There's Johnny, who tells a policeman when a stranger offers him sweets and a ride in his car, and wise young Bertie who realises that to become a celebrity chef by the time he's 40, he must follow safety rules in the kitchen. Andersen claims she writes from experience and was inspired to put the collection together after an incident with an electric socket as a child, which left her battling frizzy hair. However, don't expect great poetic works. The language and rhythms are simple and more like nursery rhymes than sonnets. But then this is what makes them appealing to young children, especially when combined with the vivid illustrations of Louise Soloway Chan. 'Look,' I said pointing out the picture of a girl called Mandy lying sick on the floor, after my own three-year-old was caught with something inedible in her mouth. 'That's what happens when you eat things you're not supposed to.' She stared intently at the drawing of the red-faced girl with stars circling her head and then handed me a piece of soggy, chewed plastic. 'Okay mummy,' she said and then skipped off, one small but vital cautionary tale the wiser.