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Ruurs, Margriet.

Illustrated by Roberta Mebs. Whitehorse, Burns & Morion, 1986, unpaged, paperbound boards, $10.95, ISBN 0-920961-01-0. Distributed by Burns & Morion. P.O. Box 4315. Whitehorse. Yukon, YlA 3T3. CIP

Pre-School-Grade 5
Reviewed by Patricia Skanynski

Volume 15 Number 4
1987 July

Michael, a young boy living in a small northern city (unnamed), has two dogs. During the winter his white dog gets lost in the snow and his black dog disappears in the night. Michael longs for a pet that won't get lost and finds a purple cat on the way home from school. A purple cat is perfect for the winter but when the summer comes—oh! oh! the cat blends in with the purple fireweed that grows in the northern fields.

There are two positive features of this book. The idea of a purple cat is intriguing to any age group. An interesting visual dimension is added with variations in the style of print.

Unfortunately, there are too many obvious problems with structure and style for the book to be successful. The story is too long to hold the interest of a younger child and an older reader may be put off by the condescending tone of the narrative. The author interjects irrelevant details about Michael's life in the North to give the story a regional flavour, however, these digressions merely interfere with the plot. The style is bland; in describing Michael's "furry northern dogs," we are told," Nugget was as white as snow. Skookum was as black as night." The events are very predictable. Colour is obviously the key to the story and while Roberta Mebs' illustrations are quite good, they lack vitality. A black dog should be black, not charcoal grey, and even the purple cat looks a little washed out.

In general, the author tries to do too much with the story, consequently there is little to recommend it.

Patricia Skanynski, Nepean P.L., Nepean, Ont.
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