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Pierre Berton
Illustrated by Patsy Berton
Toronto, McClelland & Stewart, 1991(c1961). 160pp, paper, $12.95
ISBN 0-7710-1399-X. CIP

Grades 1 to 4/Ages 6 to 9

Reviewed by Ila D. Scott.

Volume 20 Number 2
1992 March

In its thirtieth anniversary year, after four editions and 200,000 copies sold, The Secret World of Og has once again been reprinted. Another generation of children will be introduced to the adventures of the five children who, quite unexpectedly, find their way into a subterranean fantasy world.

Penny, Pamela, Patsy and Peter are playing in their playhouse one hot summer afternoon when their baby brother, affectionately known as Pollywog, disappears. Upon deducing that the only possible avenue of escape is a tunnel discovered under the floor, the four decide to follow, accompanied by their faithful dog, Yukon King, and their cat, Earless Osdick. They find themselves in a brightly coloured land filled with rocks, mushrooms and tiny green inhabitants who can only seem to say the word "Og."

The people of Og, quite naturally, feel threatened by the intrusion of these "giants" and set out to capture them. Understanding between the children and the Ogs grows when they find themselves able to speak the common language of comic books and story­books, for it is these lost and discarded toys and belongings of the children that the people of Og have appropriated into their way of life.

The illustrations, done by Berton's daughter, Patsy, are delightful. She drew them originally for the fourth edition seventeen years ago and com­pleted a new cover for this latest release. This proved to be a challenge since it was difficult for her as a mature artist to recapture the naive style of her earlier teenage work.

This book has been called a Canadian classic. Unfortunately, it is to some small extent showing its age, and could have benefited from updating and shortening. However, these complaints are relatively minor and future young readers will no doubt enjoy visiting Og every bit as much as their counterparts have done in the past.


Ila D. Scott, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alta.
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