CM Archive
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bp Nichol.
Illustrated by LeBaron.

Windsor (ON), Black Moss Press, c1981.
Distributed by Firefly.
14pp, paper, $4.95.
ISBN 0-88753-079-6.

Grades 4 and up.
Reviewed by Fran Newman.

Volume 11 Number 4.
1983 July.

Library shelves are not overflowing with books of Canadian children's poetry, and Black Moss is to be commended for publishing the genre, even though this book does not offer much, bp Nichol is an established adult poet. He tries, in this book for a much younger audience, to evoke humour, whimsy, and delight but is unsuccessful. His tale of Millie the Moose comes closest to his aims, with its Dr. Seuess-like form and fun. Gene the shark also works well.

         You walk straight on for ten trees or
         Turn left at the robin's song
         Then follow the sound of the west
         wind down
         To where the deer drink from the

The above, regarding a path to the moon, points out Nichol's often weak rhymes (pond-song, reef-teeth, dinner-swimmer, etc.) and his uneven rhythm. Children's poetry is meant to be read aloud but here, as in many other of the poems,.the tongue stumbles over the lines.

Some selections would be downright confusing to smaller children. "I have never seen said Dave one day to Phil" has a play on words that most would miss. The royal "We" and a poem about Shakespeare are other examples. Is it wise to write "thru," "I've," "&," "thot," "coz" in a book meant for children to read?

The illustrations, by LeBaron, are smudgy, mostly unattractive pen-and-ink sketches that add little to the appeal of the words of this unsatisfactory book.

Fran Newman, Brighton, ON.
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