On February 2, 2006 a bizarre media event took place in a classroom at Chicago’s Andrew Jackson Language Academy. With Mayor Richard Daley and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Michael Chertoff present, “Rex” the DHS “mountain lion” mascot helped roll out the Ready Kids awareness campaign of which this book is a major component. During the presentation, Rex (some poor chap in a ridiculous costume) stood by looking silly while the school children learned about natural disaster and terrorist attack preparedness.* As a key moment in absurd War on Terror history, this one ranks fairly high.

The Ready Kids Activity Book is basically a coloring book with some “Emergency” puzzles and comic strips thrown in for good measure. It presents preparedness as a kind of unplanned camping trip. The only thing that is missing is a blank image of the terror alert chart for the Ready Kids to color in.

CONELRAD gets the distinct impression that the Bush administration has shortchanged our youth in the whole War on Terror educational campaign business. After all, the fifties kids had Bert the Turtle, Duck and Cover and Mia Farrow! The first generation War on Terror kids get a lame lion and some lousy stickers. Now is that fair?

There is a Ready Kids website which is better than the FEMA for Kids website, but that is not saying a whole lot.

For more DHS fun, see CONELRAD's review of the very first pamphlet issued in the Ready campaign, Preparing Makes Sense. Get Ready Now (2003).

* Ready or not, security targets kids; The Department of Homeland Security’s new mascot Rex Roars into Chicago to teach youths how to prepare for disasters and terrorism: Chicago Tribune, February 3, 2006 by James Janega.

By The Advertising Council and Department of Homeland Security
Published in 2006 by the Department of Homeland Security
13 Pages


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