THE DINNER PARTY
Sean O'Huigin. Illustrated by Maureen Paxton.
Volume 13 Number 2
Sean O'Huigin has just won the Canada Council prize for Ghost Horse of the Mounties (Black Moss, 1984), and his name is shown on this book in capitals - the first time. Is there a connection? Is Sean going legitimate? Those children who adored Scary Poems for Rotten Kids ¹ would surely hope not, and in this book their expectations are met.O'Huigin is just as yucky and gory and gross as before. Perhaps even more so. Imagine, if you can, a meal wherein the most revolting of foods were to be served and you have the whole story. There is rat skin, finger and toe nails, snails, eye soup, worms, and on and on. The diners are just as dreadful as they dribble and drool and spit. Maureen Paxton's muted watercolours certainly depict the above "delights" with vigour. O'Huigin's rhymes are sloppy: sort and fork, like and night, alive and wide, worms and squirmed. Nevertheless, when I read this book to a Grade Four/Five and asked how many would like to take it out, all but a few hands shot up in the air. The few intrepid critics pointed out that it was all right to listen to once, but that was enough for them. I would side with these more discriminating kids, but I would be one of a small minority. This book will be well used and soon bear the wear and tear of many eager hands.
Fran Newman, Spring Valley P.S., Brighton, ON.
¹ Reviewed vol. Xl/4 1983, p.l69.
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