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John F. Jansen in de Wal.
Illustrations by Bev Hagan.

Toronto, Annick Press, c1983.
60pp, paper, $6.95 (paperbound boards), $3.95 (paper).
ISBN 0-920236-56-1 (paperbound boards), 0-920236-57-X (paper).

Grades 3 and up.
Reviewed by Barbara Conquest.

Volume 11 Number 6.
1983 November.

Joey, grade 4 fatherless son of a big-city topless waitress, leads an exciting life: brushes with police and subway guards, older friends who smoke up, and hassles with authority in all its forms are part of his day-to-day existence. Despite his problems, the character comes across as likeable, one with the right instincts who is caught in a situation not of his own making. No aspect of urban downtown life is ignored: drugs, liquor, racial conflict, and assault are all part of Joey's world, and he copes.

Only the ending of the book strikes a false note. Suddenly Joey's mother sees the error of her ways after Joey has a rather serious accident, and she decides to change her lifestyle. Presumably this change occurs; the reader is led to believe all is happy ever after.

Poor readers in grades 6 to 8 might enjoy this book because of the action (if they can forget the protagonist is a grade 4). Average grades 3 to 5 students will find vocabulary and style easy. They too will enjoy the action. Some middle-class mammas may prefer their children not read books of this type, however; Joey's life is depicted as more glamorous than it would be in reality.

Barbara Conquest, D. S. MacKenzie J. H. S., Edmonton, AB.
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