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Stompin' Tom Connors
Illustrated by Brenda Jones
Charlottetown, Ragweed Press, 1994. 24pp, paper, $5.95
ISBN 0-921556-43-8. Distributed by General Distribution Services. CIP

Kindergarten to Grade 3/ Ages 5-8

Reviewed by Jennifer Johnson

Volume 22 Number 5
1994 October

Popularized in its original song format, "Bud the Spud" has been given a new life as a soft-cover picture-book.

Unfortunately, as a book it is not effective. Transforming a lyric to book format must necessarily be very difficult. Songs which are hugely successful when interpreted musically are not always effective when they are separated not only from the music but also from the dynamism of the performer. A repeated lyric which is a pleasure to the listener can be an irritant in black and white on the printed page. Illustrations can go a long way to enhance and extend text, but they can never re-create the excitement of the musical experience.

In Bud the Spud, Brenda Jones does her best to provide the lyrics with a sub-text. Bud is accompanied on his journeys by a canine side-kick who relates to passersby, both human and four-footed, wears driving goggles, helps pilot the truck, and howls at the moon, but these visual additions are not enough to maintain reader interest. Jones researched the tourist attractions from Prince Edward Island to Montreal and Toronto, includes an "Anne of Green Gables," and revels in depicting speed and motion, but, again, the text remains an unappealing one for children.

The true appeal of this song lies in its musical interpretation.

Not recommended.

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

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