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Perry Nodelman
Toronto, Groundwood/Douglas & Mclntyre Children's Books, 1993.160pp, paper, $7.95
ISBN 0-88899-175-4. CIP

Grades 5 to 8/Ages 10 to 13

Reviewed by Gillian Martin Noonan.

Volume 21 Number 4
1993 September

John Nesbit's life is not going well. He has nothing in common with his hockey-crazed classmates, his baby sister has changed from a cooing and smiling infant to one who just stares blankly, eats, and sleeps, and his parents are preoccupied with his sister. But John's life is about to change.

While John is on a walk through the park, a hole appears in a hill, revealing his next-door neighbour, Mrs. Fordyce, rocking a baby. The only problem is that Mrs. Fordyce is dead and the baby is his sister. From then on, John's life is an adventure into the fantastical world of the Strangers, or fairies. He discovers that unless he rescues his sister and closes the door to Stranger Country, all the bizarre and sometimes frightening things happening in Winnipeg will only get worse.

Perry Nodelman has provided readers with an exciting and entertaining story. The story is written from John's point of view, and the young reader should easily be able to identify with the character's life and should enjoy his peculiar encounters with the Strangers. Some may find Nodelman's depiction of the Strangers a little too unbelievable, but this reviewer with a personal background of childhood stories about fairies found the tale appealing and fun.

This book could be a good starting point for further exploration into what is believed about the fairy world. Nodelman has provided a historical note at the end which would help in such an endeavour. An entertaining but different sort of story with a Canadian flavour that deserves some consideration.

Gillian Martin Noonan is a teacher-librarian living in Old Perlican, Newfoundland.
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