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Allen Morgan. Illustrated by Michael Martchenko.
Toronto, ON: Annick Press, 1984.
unpaged, paper, $4.95.
ISBN 0-920303-01-3. paperbound boards $12.95. ISBN 0-920303-01-5. Matthew's Midnight Adventure Series. CIP.

Subject Headings:
Automobiles-Juvenile fiction.
Dreams-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 1-4 / Ages 6-9

Reviewed by Diane Harke.

Volume 13 Number 4
1985 July

Young Matthew has a weakness for toy tow trucks, cars and vans, and, most wickedly of all, for red licorice. When both his best van and any chance he might have for a post-dinner licorice disappear, Matthew retreats to a midnight world of adventure and sweetness.

The midnight tow truck driver who appears outside his house takes Matthew on as his assistant. They rove through the streets collecting vehicles for the driver's collection. Lunch consists of strand after stand of red licorice. Contrary to the opinion of his mother, Matthew's new found friend insists that you can never get enough red licorice. "It's good for you and it gives you big muscles", the driver claims. Matthew agrees. Fortified by red licorice, the team finishes off the night at a car wash where the vehicles are shrunk down to pocket size. Morning brings the discovery of the missing van in Matthew's jacket pocket and a warning for his mother. Without a red licorice signal under the windshield wiper, her car could be struck by the midnight tow truck. What mother would want to take the risk?

This story is the first of three Matthew's Midnight Adventure books with illustrations by Michael Martchenko (of Robert Munsch fame). While neither the plot nor the dialogue have quite the imaginative flair of the Munsch books, Matthew's adventure makes for lively reading, and the illustrations play a key role in building appeal. Recommended to those librarians and parents who see no harm in a little red licorice.

Diane Harke, Edmonton, AB.
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