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Bard Wood.

Vancouver, Barb Wood Graphics, c1982.
Distributed by Barb Wood Graphics Ltd., 600-1033 Davie St., Vancouver, BC, V6E1M7.
26pp, paperbound boards, $10.00.
ISBN 0-9691037-0-0.

Grades 4 and up.
Reviewed by Susanna Miyake.

Volume 11 Number 4.
1983 July.

This production falls between several stools. It attempts to be a plea for the handicapped, a mystery, a guide book to Vancouver, a guide book for handicapped services in Vancouver, a riddle, a fantasy adventure, and a picture puzzle book. The characters are just names, and the action meaningless. On page 1, we meet two "mean looking boys" who steal a riddle book from a girl in a wheelchair, without any motivation. She and her friend (representing the able-bodied, but with no other raison d'être) attempt to solve the riddles and win a prize, with the help of what seems to be an interfering leprechaun. (In BC?) In the process, they all tour Vancouver. The book is so bad, it is astonishing. The writing is the ultimate of hackneyed. The pictures, perhaps in contrast, have some appeal, though the print is dense.

This effort was funded by the 1981 International Year of Disabled Persons Committee, Province of British Columbia. Even more unbearable to read is a "history" of the book, sent to the reviewer. Apparently five thousand books have been printed. A "professional writer" edited the script, which shows no evidence of it.

Altogether this was an agony to read and review, and I am quite angry over the disservice done to a good cause by this piece of junk. It certainly is, by any definition, not a children's book, but a vehicle for the artist/illustrator. The committee would have done better to sponsor a simple poster contest in which Wood's talent would have been better used. I feel sorry for the two young people who served as models; they deserved better.

Susanna Miyake, Faculty of Education, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC.
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