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Edited by Mary Alice Downie, Elizabeth Greene, and M.A. Thompson. Toronto, Methuen, c1986. 190pp, cloth, $22.95, ISBN 0458-80390-1. CIP

Grades 1-6
Reviewed by Carol Steedman

Volume 15 Number 1
1987 January

This book of Canadian stories and poems by thirty authors is refreshing and delightful. As the editors explained in the preface of The Window of Dreams, the "stories and poems in this anthology for children are a distillation of more than six hundred submissions from across Canada. , .." Of the submissions, "all are new, and almost all are appearing in print for the first time." They also point out that "many of the writers represented are well-known to readers; orders are at early stages of their careers." And finally, the editors discovered magic, more than expected, through a talking cabbage and an animated stuffed goose, to name two. They also found an undercurrent of themes displaying "concern for the environment, respect for the past, and a belief in the value of friendship, the family, loyalty, and resourcefulness."

The stories and poems are arranged with those to entice the young, and young-at-heart, near the front of the book, with others for the more experienced reader near the book's end. All are appealing for children and adults, with enjoyment as the key to each story or poem. The varied illustrations are abundantly sprinkled throughout. Techniques of scraperboard, charcoal, pen and ink, pencil, wash, and silhouette exhibit careful thought and planning to make each black-and-white illustration capture the exact mood of the story or poem. The colourful dust jacket invites the reader to peer through The Window of Dreams. The print and spacing make the pages easy to read. The book is well bound and appears to be durable. Near the end of the book are "Biographical Notes" on each of the authors and illustrators.

The Window of Dreams is virtually a candy store of stories and poems. The variety of theme and style is exceptional. I tearfully shared Jean Little's "Goodbye. Tizzy," which is a tender, emotional story of a young girl's impending separation from a seeing-eye dog she has raised, I laughed out loud at Leslie Hamson's duel between mother and son in "Shoes." Fanciful memories, with a gentle twist, are shared by Gran'ma Jane in Muriel Maclean's 'The Ragentangle Race." Amongst the clever and thought-provoking poems is a humorous tale by Charles Wilkins.

This is only a sampling of the many stories and poems found in The Window of Dreams. I will return often to this window to re-read and refill my dreams. This book is definitely recommended for public and elementary libraries.

Carol Steedman, North Ward P.S., Paris, Ont.
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