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Mandlsohn, Sol.

Illustrated by Peter Kovalik. Toronto, PMA Publishers, c1985. 71pp, paper-bound boards, $14.95, ISBN 0-9692332-0-5. Distributed by Firefly Books.

K-Grade 6
Reviewed by Maryleah Otto

Volume 14 Number 3
1986 May

I wrote a poem the other night,
I didn't seem to get it right,
So even though it gives me pain,
I'm going to write that poem again.

So goes number forty-four in a collection of fifty-nine poems by Sol Mandlsohn for children in the elementary grades. The author would do well to follow his own advice, for most of the poems suffer badly from awkward rhythms, forced rhymes, and poorly related ideas. True, the themes, which concern food, animals, plants, and people, are appealing, and Peter Kovalik's illustrations are big, bright, and humorous, but neither the art nor the physical excellence of the book can save it from being such a disappointment. It is too bad, because one has the impression that Mandlsohn's work is a labour of love. But love without skill cannot create good poetry. Other examples of his writing have been published in anthologies and used in the Ontario school system, and a successor to Nicholas Tickle Us is planned. Meantime, for poetry in a lighter vein, stick with Lear, Milne, Lee, and Silverstein.

Maryleah Otto, Etobicoke P.L., Etobicoke, Ont.
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