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Robert Munsch. Illustrated by Michael Martchenko.
Toronto, ON: Annick Press, 1986.
unpaged, paper, $4.95.
ISBN 0-920936-91-X. cloth, $19 95. ISBN 0-929236-86-3. CIP.

Subject Headings:
Fathers and sons-Juvenile fiction.
Sleepwalking-Juvenile fiction.

Kindergarten-grade 3 / Ages 5-8

Reviewed by Barbara Egerer Walker.

Volume 14 Number 3
1986 May

50 Below Zero is Robert Munsch's thirteenth book. Michael Martchenko has illustrated ten of the Munsch stories. Anyone who has anything to do with children is familiar with Munsch's storytelling. His stories are both in book and audio-visual form (record and tape) His storytelling style is unique and addictive. 50 Below Zero is no exception.

"In the middle of the night Jason was asleep: ZZZZZ-ZZZZZ-ZZZZZ. He woke up! He heard a sound." And Jason's adventure begins. Jason's sleepwalking father is asleep on top of the refrigerator. Jason wakes him up, his father runs around the kitchen three times and goes back to bed. Again and again, Jason is awakened by a sound and discovers his father sleeping in the bath tub, out in the garage, sleeping on top of the car, and finally outside in the snow, "and it was 50 below zero that night."

Predictably then, Jason puts on lots of snowsuits, mitts, socks, and mukluks and follows the footprints in the snow. Eventually, he finds his father leaning up against a tree asleep. All the tugging in the world will not move him, so Jason runs and gets his sled and drags his father back home by his big toe. Jason gives his father a hot bath and then his father jumps up and runs around the bathroom three times and goes back to bed. Jason decides to put an end to this craziness, so he ties one end of a rope around his father's big toe and the other end to his father's bed. Jason goes to sleep again, is awakened again, and finds his father. still attached to the long rope, standing asleep in the kitchen.

"In the middle of the night, Jason's mother was asleep: ZZZZZ-ZZZZZZZZZZ .She woke up . . . she opened the door to the kitchen and . . ." Munsch followers will have to read 50 Below Zero to find out what happens at the end of the story.

Munsch writes the way a child thinks. In 50 Below Zero, he sees the situation from a young child's perspective. Children will love the ingenuity Munsch uses with Jason. The only part of his father Jason can grab onto is his big toe. Children love this kind of activity.

The illustrations of Michael Martchenko are the perfect complement to the story. Munsch followers have come to expect these two talents to create picture books for children and we have never been disappointed with the results 50 Below Zero is another great read for young children. There is no end to the imagination of Robert Munsch.

Barbara Egerer Walker, Etobicoke P.L., Etobicoke, ON.
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