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Staunton, Ted.

Toronto. Kids Can Press. 1987. 89pp, paper, $4.95, ISBN 0-921103-00-X. CIP

Grades 1 to 3
Reviewed by Brenda Watson

Volume 16 Number 4
1988 July

Ted Staunton is a musician/writer who lives in Toronto. This is his second book about Cyril and Maggie of Greenapple Street. The first was Taking Care of Chunley.*

Maggie is the genius of Greenapple Street and Cyril is her partner and friend. Maggie is also, on mast occasions, the boss. This book recounts five episodes in the lives of Maggie and Cyril. In the first, Maggie challenges Cyril to ride a bike wearing a dress. She doesn't say which dress, and when it turns out to be a discarded one of her mother's, Cyril is in for a hard time. The two also get involved in science projects, community centre lessons, and the Christmas concert.

In these stories the author makes a deliberate attempt to present a non-stereotypic female character. Maggie is the genius, the boss, the one who prefers floor hockey to piano lessons and wants to run the lights for the Christina’s concert. Cyril, on the other hand, comes across as shy and inept. He is easily duped into playing the fool in Maggie's schemes. Despite the rather obvious reversal of roles, the two children learn from each other—Maggie, to value Cyril's friendship and Cyril, to have more faith in his own abilities. Some of the other characters in the book are stereotypes. Augie Crumley is the classic dumb bully, who plays into Maggie's hands every time.

Cyril's father has a hard time accepting his son's preference for piano lessons over floor hockey, and his mother is often unaware of what's going on. This book will be popular with children who like school and neighborhood stories in the vein of Beverly Cleary. The little paperback is sturdy with well-laid-out black print of a size suitable for Primary readers. Recommended.

Brenda Watson, Dunsmuir School, Victoria, B.C.

*Reviewed vol. XIII/2 March 1985 p. 86.

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