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Stéphane Poulin.
Toronto, ON: Annick Press, 1989.
26pp., paper, $5.95.
ISBN 1-55037-068-5. cloth, $14.95. ISBN 1-55037-069-3. Also available in French. CIP.

Subject Heading:
Pillows-Juvenile fiction.

Kindergarten-grade 3 / Ages 5-8

Reviewed by Patricia Fry.

Volume 18 Number 1
1990 January

Author-illustrator Stéphane Poulin has once again created what is sure to become a favourite picture-book for children. The hero of this book is Benjamin, a shy, happy man who is always humming. Benjamin lives with his parents and, in the evenings, he enjoys making music with them. The illustration pictures Benjamin contentedly humming in the bathtub while his mother, perched on the sink, plays the tuba and his father, seated on the toilet, strums his harp.

Like most people in his village, Benjamin works in the local pillow factory. The reader soon learns that these aren't ordinary pillows; they're extraordinary because they always give people a deep, delicious sleep.

The story of the magic pillows spreads far and wide and soon people from distant lands are buying up the pillows to sell in their own countries. While the factory owner is showing one of many groups around his factory, an Italian visitor hears Benjamin quietly humming as he sews and promptly invites him to hum at her opera house. Benjamin and his parents are off to Italy!

Soon the family trio become world celebrities. In the meantime, back at the village, the magic pillows have lost their magic and customers are beginning to complain. The factory owner in his frustration tears a pillow apart and as the feathers float out, the room is filled with the sweet, soft music of Benjamin's humming coming from inside the pillow. From then on, people are encouraged to bring their pillows to the concerts as Benjamin and his parents tour around the world. That way, they can open them up so that Benjamin's voice will flow into them and they can become magic pillows once more.

This book is balanced with text on one page and a full-colour illustration on the facing page. The detail in each picture makes the reader want to linger and therefore this is an excellent choice for individual reading. On the other hand, because of the large size of the full-page illustrations, this is also an effective choice for reading aloud.

Highly recommended for a Kindergarten to grade 6 collection, especially for the primary grades.

Patricia Fry, Port Credit, ON.
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