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Max Ferguson.
Illustrations by Jane Kurisu.

Richmond Hill (ON), Scholastic-Tab Publications, c1979, 1982.
unpaged, paper, $2.95.
ISBN 0-590-71087-7.

Grades K-3.
Reviewed by Sharon Young.

Volume 11 Number 4.
1983 July.

The Cinderella fairy tale is here retold with an unusual twist. Having graduated from grade 1, the Prince decides to spend "his time flying his kite, sailing his paper boats and lying in the sun," rather than continue with his education. Years later at his birthday ball, the Prince meets Cinderella and falls in love. Her quick departure at midnight leaves the Prince holding Cinderella's slipper. Her name is printed in the slipper; however, unable to read, the Prince thinks Cinderella's name is Umbrella and begins his search for the woman he loves. Not until the Prince's error is corrected by the fairy godmother do the couple reunite. Realizing that his lack of reading skills almost cost him his true love, he decides to go back to school, taking Cinderella with him, and they live happily ever after. Illustrator Jane Kurisu enhanced the text by using bright vivid colours and cartoon-like characters.

Has Anybody Seen My Umbrella? would make a worthwhile addition to a junior collection of fairy tales and pseudo fairy tales. A good storyteller would be able to bring out Max Ferguson's humour to its fullest. Junior students could use the book as a model for their own writing of modified fairy tales. It is not likely, however, that nine to twelve year olds would choose to read the book on their own as its shelf placement would be in the paperback picture book section.

My primary class enjoyed listening to the story. They laughed at the Prince's math and reading errors. However, they missed the subtle humour that a junior class easily recognized. My class was able to understand the meaning of the text when it was discussed after the oral presentation. Book and print size make it unsuitable though, for a class read-aloud. Reading programs that use many fairy tales and a meaning approach will have many children able to read the story independently. Primary readers from a sight word and phonics based program will have great difficulty with the book as the vocabulary is extensive. The best reading situation for Has Anybody Seen My Umbrella? would be a parent or teacher with one child. Details in the illustrations are best appreciated that way as well. Recommended.

Sharon Young, Gateway Dr. P. S., Guelph, ON.
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