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Carol Matas
Richmond Hill (Ont.), Scholastic Canada,
1993. 99pp, paper, $3.95, ISBN 0-590-74600-6.
(Shooting Star). CIP

Grades 2-5 / Ages 7-10

Reviewed by Jennifer Johnson

Volume 22 Number 3
1994 May/June

Writing for the "Shooting Star" series, Carol Matas, author of the young adult titles  Jesper,  Lisa (Lester & Orpen Dennys, 1987) and  Daniel's Story, introduces a younger audience to the possibilities of night-time magic in Denmark's Legoland.

Adventure in Legoland (Scholastic, 1992) introduced Aaron, on holidays from his home in Winnipeg. Answering a call for help, the eight-year-old set off to rescue Prince Aryeh. Shrunk to Lego size by a magic formula, Aaron proceeded into the exhibits.

In Safari Adventure in Legoland, Carol Matas continues her exploration of this amusement area by taking Aaron and Aryeh into the Safari Park. This time the two boys work together to recover a lost trophy in the midst of animals both life-size and alive. They are joined by Safari Bill, who has to be restrained from offering his well-meant but dubious help, and successfully negotiate the return of the prize by enacting an old trick on a troop of monkeys.

Matas has shown her strong writing skills and ability to create sympathetic characters in her young adult novels. In her Legoland novels she illustrates that her writing and emotional range is wide. She creates a world of undeniable appeal for her younger readership in choosing a well-loved toy as a basis for both setting and action. The exotica of the fairy palace, rodeo villains and jungle animals, and the appeal of being able to play in rather than with Lego make the setting eminently attractive. The boys' stresses with parents and their need to gain independence are well realized.

Matas necessarily writes a very spare plot. The addition of Safari Bill is a distraction here, and, while he adds an element of humour, readers may want to just get on with the story.

On the whole, Matas has created an accessible, exciting tale with strong appeal to younger fiction readers and for older students who are not fluent readers but who are being asked to make the move into chapter books.


Jennifer Johnson works as a children's librarian in Ottawa, Ontario

¹ Reviewed vol.XXI/4 September 1993, p.153.

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