________________ CM . . . . Volume XII Number 10 . . . .January 20, 2006


The Way to Slumbertown.

L.M. Montgomery. Illustrated by Rachel Bédard.
Montreal, PQ: Lobster Press, 2005.
24 pp., cloth, $19.95.
ISBN 1-894222-98-9.

Subject Heading:
Children's Poetry, Canadian (English).

Preschool /Ages 1-3.

Review by Lisa Doucet.

*** /4


If we could go to Slumbertown
within a new moon boat,

How splendid it would be
across a magic sea to float.


This lovely little ode to bedtime invites readers on a delicious flight of fancy which leads gently, but unequivocally, to...bed! Although the narrator idly wonders about fantastical journeys in magical ships and on the backs of shimmery white moths, she points out that ultimately the most reliable way to Slumbertown is always via mother's ever-loving arms. While this whimsical voyage might beckon sleepy toddlers to a magic sea and to such enchanted places as the Harbor of Fair Dreams and the Land of Evening Stars (en route to the Coast of Lullabies, of course), it is ultimately a sweet and lovely enticement into their very own land of dreams.

internal art     While Lucy Maud Montgomery is unarguably best known for her novels, including the much-loved and highly-lauded Anne of Green Gables and its sequels, she was a prolific writer of poetry as well. Although she, herself, acknowledged that she was not destined for literary greatness as a poet, she often expressed a preference for writing poetry, and her first published works were poems. Anyone who is familiar with her work will recognize the characteristics that her poems and prose share. Even in this short, lyrical verse, Montgomery's abiding and reverential love of nature is evident, as is her penchant for vividly descriptive phrases. Yet despite the fact that this poem is perhaps a more old-fashioned verse than those typically found in today's bedtime stories, it is no less appealing for that. The dreamy, lilting phrases are soothing in and of themselves, and the overall impression of the book is one of gentle reassurance and familial love. Youngsters will delight in the easy rhythm of the text and will hopefully come to revel in the richness of the language and imagery.

     Another strength of this book is the fact that the illustrations are so beautifully suited to the text. They are lush and luminous, filled with colour but also a haziness that creates a dream-like atmosphere. They manage to capture the whimsy and fairytale quality of the verse, which speaks of moonlit journeys to fanciful realms, while at the same time depicting a warm, cosy nursery scene. It is a charming book, from the sparkling wingtips of the cover illustration right through to the final image of sleeping children floating on a perfectly calm sea. It would make a delightful addition to any bedtime book collection.


Lisa Doucet is a children's bookseller at Woozles in Halifax, NS.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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