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Kathy Stinson. Illustrated by Nancy Lou Reynolds.
Toronto, ON: Annick Press, 1984.
unpaged, paper, $4.95.
ISBN 0-920236-87-1. paperbound boards, $10.95. ISBN 0-920236-92-8. CIP.

Subject Heading:
Divorce-Juvenile literature.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 4-7

Reviewed by Maryleah Otto.

Volume 13 Number 1
1985 January

With the divorce rate nearing fifty per cent, there is a real need for this material, especially for younger children. Here, a little girl of about six tells how her parents' separation affects her life. She describes the outings she enjoys when visiting her father and the happy times she has with her mother. She wonders whether she will also grow up and get married and "then get apart" and whether "Daddy wants to get married with Paula." She hopes Santa knows where she will be at Christmas. Her dearest wish is to make her parents happy together, but she understands that she is powerless to do this. Most important, she is secure in the love of each of them, "just not together."

Kathy Stinson has caught, in a minimum of perfectly chosen words, the very essence of a young child's bewilderment and anxiety when parents separate. The use of the first person and the "thinking out loud" style intensify the emotional impact of the words. Outbursts of direct speech, although directed in the child's imagination to the parents, bring the reader into close personal contact with the little girl.

Nancy Lou Reynolds's full-page illustrations, whether in soft-hued watercolours or grey-and-white sketches, are effective visual counterparts to the text. Illustrations are rarely so attuned to the concept of a work. This poignant, sensitive treatment of a painful and, unfortunately, all too common experience in children's lives will be most welcome in school or public libraries or in home collections, and it is highly recommended.

Maryleah Otto, Etobicoke P.L., Etobicoke, ON.
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