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Murphy, Joanne Brisson.

Illustrated by Heather Collins. Windsor, Black Moss Press, c1985. unpaged, paper, $5.95, ISBN 0-88753-129-6.

K-grade 2
Reviewed by Fran Newman

Volume 13 Number 5
1985 September

To begin with, I truly love Heather Collin's illustrations. Without even reading the text, a browse through the book with attention paid to the soft pastel, full-colour paintings is a delight. There we see the life of a small child: waking in the bottom bunk bed, making one's own breakfast (I imagine the reaction of the mother at the sight of the kitchen and I smile), going out with Mom and Dad, fears, tears and hugs, bathtime, and sleepy time.

Why, oh why then did the editors make the decision to put the text in a sort of rhyme? It is "sort of" because the pages do not follow the same pattern and the rhymes are often poor. I do not like to see "town" and "around", "room" and "moon", or "hats" and "fat" put together as rhymes. In a few instances the words are awkwardly chosen just so that they do rhyme: monsters "fill me with gloom"; "it just ruins my day." The narrative is in the first person and I wonder whether a five-year old would say those things? I must also admit to a sense of unease about the last page:

It's nice to have feelings,
as many as can be,
'cause it helps me to know
and to understand me.

I suppose it is "nice" to have feelings. I'm not sure, however, that a very young child understands himself as a result of having many feelings.

To me, this is a case of faulty editing. Had the text been unrhymed, with a simple, child's view of his day and the way he feels about events, the tremendous illustrations would have made this a lovely book. Nevertheless, I will buy it for the pictures.

Fran Newman, Murray Centennial P.S., Tremblay, Ont.
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