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Norman Shrive
Illustrated by Gregg Rodgers

Burlington (Ont.), Hayes Publishing, 1989. 32pp, cloth, $14.95
ISBN 0-88625-246-6.

Grades 1 to 3/Ages 6 to 8
Reviewed by Marion Scott.

Volume 17 Number 5
1989 September

The story is about Kryptic (i.e., "Little Space Guy"), a miniature alien, who pays a visit to earth. While enjoying the beauties of an earthly forest, Kryptic runs afoul of a mean toad who is determined to have him for lunch. Kryptic's new earth friends, the forest insects, come to his rescue and chase off the toad. All ends happily with Kryptic resuming his space voyage.

The text begins well but it soon bogs down in a tendency to be over wordy and over cute. Kryptic does not be­come a truly memorable character, and the suspense of the toad encounter gets entangled in too many words and falls flat.

The illustrations, on the other hand, are abundant and appealing. They are full colour, make good use of the oversized pages, and match well with the text. Kryptic is pictured as a miniature robot, is cute and friendly, and will attract the intended audience. Clever use is also made of perspective: the forest is portrayed from the insect-sized viewpoint of Kryptic and his friends.

The text is weak and and might have benefited from more stringent editing. However, given the popularity of space themes and the appeal of the illustra­tions, this is still a title that would circu­late well and is worth considering for school and public library collections.

Shrive has written for Hayes before, notably Great Escapes in the Hayes Adventure series as well as adult non-fiction. This appears to be his and Rodgers's first picture book.

Marion Scott, Toronto Public Library, Toronto, Ont.
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