________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 20 . . . . May 30, 2008

cover Lucy Maud Montgomery. (Kids Can Read).

Elizabeth MacLeod. Illustrated by John Mantha.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2008.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $5.95 (pbk.), $14.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55453-056-4 (pbk.), ISBN 1-55453-055-7 (hc.).

Subject Headings:
Montgomery, L.M. (Lucy Maud), 1874-1942-Juvenile literature.
Novelists, Canadian (English)-20th century-Biography-Juvenile literature.

Kindergarten-grade 3 / Ages 5-8.

Review by Myra Junyk.

**** /4

cover The Wright Brothers. (Kids Can Read).

Elizabeth MacLeod. Illustrated by Andrej Krystoforski.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2008.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $5.95 (pbk.), $14.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55453-054-0 (pbk.), ISBN 1-55453-053-3 (hc.).

Subject Headings:
Wright, Orville, 1871-1948-Juvenile literature.
Wright, Wilbur, 1867-1912-Juvenile literature.
Aeronautics-United States-Biography-Juvenile literature.

Kindergarten-grade 3 / Ages 5-8.

Review by Myra Junyk.

**** /4


When Lucy Maud Montgomery was a young girl, she dreamed of writing books. She grew up and wrote about a girl named Anne. Anne lived in a house that was called Green Gables.

The books about Anne of Green Gables made Lucy Maud Montgomery one of the most famous writers in the world.

Born in Prince Edward Island, Lucy lost her mother at an early age and was sent to live with her grandparents in Cavendish. As a child, Lucy was often lonely, and made up stories to fill her time. By the time she was 16, she had a poem published in the local newspaper. Although she continued to write and publish stories and poems, Lucy made a living as a teacher until the death of her grandfather when she returned home to care for her elderly grandmother.

Lucy’s dream was to publish a book. She found an idea in her writer’s notebook about an older couple looking for a boy to help with their chores. They ended up with a girl! The story became the famous Anne of Green Gables. However, Lucy had to send it to six publishers before one agreed to publish it! She later published many more books and won several prizes for her writing. She became a world-famous writer! (From Lucy Maud Montgomery).


For hundreds of years, people dreamed of flying. They watched birds fly through the sky and wondered if someday people might find a way to fly.

Orville and Wilbur Wright dreamed of flying, too. One day, they made their dreams come true. The Wright brothers invented the airplane.

While growing up in Dayton, Ohio, the Wright brothers loved to play with kites. Wilbur’s dreams of going to college were shattered when he had a terrible accident at age 18. He gave up his idea of leaving home to go to college. The two brothers then tried several careers – starting a newspaper, selling, repairing and building bicycles.

However, in 1896, Orville became very ill, and Wilbur spent a great deal of time caring for him. He read Orville books about inventors and flying machines. Eventually, Orville recovered, and the two brothers decided to build their very own flying machine. They experimented with kites and gliders. They chose Kitty Hawk in North Carolina to experiment with their flying machines because of the good wind and sand.

By 1903, they were ready to turn their glider into an airplane by adding a motor. After many disasters, Orville Wright became the first person to fly an airplane on December 17, 1903. (From The Wright Brothers).


Using very easy vocabulary which will appeal to young readers, Elizabeth MacLeod tells this intriguing story of Lucy Maud Montgomery. The illustrations are muted but interesting and full of detail. Even though the writing life is often solitary and sedentary, Mantha, the illustrator, has managed to capture the excitement of creating a marvelous character like Anne Shirley or, as Lucy liked to call her, “Anne-with-an-e.”

     Like Lucy Maud Montgomery, The Wright Brothers is very easy to read; however, it is an exciting story that will intrigue young readers. Krystoforski’s illustrations reflect the emotions that the two brothers are feeling as their epic tale unfolds. When Wilbur has his fateful accident and Orville is struggling with a high fever, the illustrations turn dark and dreary. However, when Flyer takes off for its historic flight, the illustration is almost dream-like. The colours are luminous, and sky, plane and sand blend into each other as Wilbur takes flight for the first time! The final illustration of a modern-day plane flying off into a wonderful sunset reminds readers how important the Wright Brothers are to modern-day transportation!

     These two books are part of the “Kids Can Read” series, and both books are written at Level 3 with “challenging topics, complex sentences, advanced vocabulary, language play, minimal repetition and visual clues.” The texts also have an interesting feature at the end which is entitled “More facts about…” This section gives avid readers some more details about the lives of Lucy Maud Montgomery and the Wright Brothers. 

     Parents and teachers can read these books aloud to students, or more competent young readers can read them on their own. This kind of structured early reading experience helps young readers to grow in independence so that they can read more complex materials. These beautifully written and luminously illustrated books will indeed help young readers “enter a new and exciting world of reading!”

Highly Recommended.

Myra Junyk is the former Program Co-ordinator of Language Arts and Library Services at the Toronto Catholic District School Board. Currently, she is working as a literacy advocate and author.

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

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