CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Tim Wynne-Jones. Illustrated by Maryann Kovalski.
Vancouver, BC: Douglas & McIntyre, 1986.
unpaged, paperbound boards, $10.95.
ISBN 0-88899-045-6. A Groundwood Book. CIP.

Subject Headings:

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 3-7

Reviewed by Adele M. Fasick.

Volume 15 Number 3
1987 May

A new picture book by Tim Wynne-Jones is sure to gladden the hearts of children, parents, and librarians. This one tells the story of Roland, who lives in a house next to that of mean-talking Mr. Swanskin. When, for several days, Mr. Swanskin fails to take his dog for his accustomed walk, Ronald's mother sends the boy over to see whether anything is wrong. Ronald has the sensible idea of taking a pie along with him. Once inside the untidy house, Ronald discovers his neighbour's secret: Mr. Swanskin spends his time mending the toys that he had broken as a child. (And a rich child he must have been, since the illustrations show the rooms filled with enough toys for fifty children).

Mr. Swanskin is angry at Ronald's intrusion and makes good on his threat to "make you small," but the delicious smell of the pie interrupts this drama and Ronald resumes his normal size before the two share pie and conversation. Ronald offers to help mend the toys and a happy future is in sight for both of them. Maryann Kovalski's illustrations add colour and background to this improbable, but charming story. Ronald, looking woebegone behind his glasses, is an irresistible hero, while the huge Mr. Swanskin seems appropriately threatening and yet vulnerable. The sense of danger averted will make this a popular story for pre-school children.

Adele M. Fasick, Faculty of Library and Information Science, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.
line indexes


1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission Copyright information for reviewers

Young Canada Works