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Steffler, John

Illustrated by Shawn Steffler. Victoria (B.C.). Porcépic Books. 1987. 48pp, paperbound boards. $12.95, ISBN 0-88878-265-9. CIP

Ages 5 to 8
Reviewed by Jane Robinson

Volume 16 Number 5
1988 September

A fairly common theme in children's literature today—the trauma associated with moving to a new neighbourhood—is developed in a refreshing and highly imaginative way in this collaboration by poet/professor John Steffler and his wife, artist Shawn Steffler. Magic, adventure, fantasy and reality all come together as the young heroine Ruth discovers her new environment while she searches for her favourite book.

Ruth's quest is a long one, and the length of the book, coupled with Steffler's style of writing, makes Flights of Magic suitable primarily as a read-aloud experience for most of its intended audience. Although the author's use of rich vocabulary and long complex sentences of varied structure is not to be avoided in a children's book (quite the contrary), the majority of children five to eight years old will not be able to read this book independently.

Unfortunately, the book incorporates no story-telling devices such as predictability and/or repetition that could help the intended audience with independent reading.

Distinctively original, the bright, vivid illustrations are well suited to the Story.

Jane Robinson, Winnipeg. Man.
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