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Elfreida Read.

Toronto, Gage Publishing, c1982.
160pp, paper, $2.95.
ISBN 0-7715-7001-5.

Grades 4-7.
Reviewed by Pia Christensen.

Volume 11 Number 3.
1983 May.

Elfreida Read, (Brothers by Choice, Farrar Straus, 1974; Magic for Granny, Burns & MacEachern, 1967), is a Vancouver author who has written fiction, drama, and short stories for children. This book is a pleasant story of an eleven-year-old sleuth, Kirstine Summerdale, whose family has a big problem. Her father is suspected of negligence, or worse, in the disappearance of a sum of money at his workplace. It seems more and more likely that the Summerdales will have to move away from Vancouver and from Kirstine's best friend. The two girls decide they must find the real culprit to prevent this calamity. In the course of their investigations, Kirstine conducts imaginary conversations with well-known fairy-tale villains and through these discussions comes to realize that people may not be just what they seem and that she is not without faults herself. This device is well integrated with the narrative and adds an interesting dimension to the story. While the setting could have been developed more, the characters, though not exactly deep, are sufficiently delineated for this type of novel. The black-and-white illustrations of the fairy-tale villains suffer from the poor quality of the paper but nevertheless add to the book. This is light, entertaining reading, recommended for ages eight to twelve.

Pia Christensen, Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC.
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