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Haseley, Dennis.

Illustrated by Eric Beddows. Markham (Ont.), Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 1987. unpaged, paperbound boards, $15.95, ISBN 0-88902-933-4. CIP

Kindergarten to Grade 4
Reviewed by Norma Charles

Volume 16 Number 5
1988 September

In growing up, children are often embarrassed by their parents for one reason or another. In The Cave of Snores, the shepherd's son wishes his father wouldn't snore so loudly. The people of the village complain that the father's snores are so loud that they drown out the sound of the robber, Kabul, dragging his fat belly over the rocks as he steals the sheep. So the villagers hire a wizard, who turns out to be the robber, Kabul, to stop the snores with magic powder.

Now that the snores have stopped, the sheep grow mean and the wicked Kabul comes in the night with his men and steals the sheep. The other shepherds beg the father to snore again, but he says there is nothing to be done. So it is left to the shepherd's son to go out into the night and search for a solution. To find it he must enter the frightening cave of snores where the "silence closed around [him], thick as a cloth."

The story, told in imaginative, poetic language, would require several retellings to make it understandable to the young picture-book crowd. Beddows’ sombre night-time illustrations in black and white provide exactly the right frighteningly dramatic atmosphere for this unusual moody "coming of age" story.

The Primary children I read it to commented that they didn't understand it. However, a student in grade 12 thought it was interesting and might provide a focus for discussion of child-parent relationships. I would recommend The Cave of Snores for purchase by a high school library.

Norma Charles, Van Horne Elementary School, Vancouver, B.C.
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