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Patrick Lane. Illustrated by Bonnie McLean.
Regina, SK: Coteau Books, 1989.
30pp., paper, $7.95.
ISBN 0-919926-97-5. cloth, $13.95. ISBN 0-919926-96-7. CIP.

Kindergarten-grade 3 / Ages 5-8

Reviewed by Jane Smith.

Volume 18 Number 2
1990 March

Milford & Me is Patrick Lane's first book for children. A young boy and his friend Milford the turtle wander through a garden patiently discussing in rhyme what holds up the world, why there are names, friendly monsters, who is God, and Nowlan the Cat. Lane will intrigue and delight young readers with his soft images:

Friday will love you forever
and Saturday's home without harm.
Sunday is gardens and sleeping.
The days are all made out of charms.

charming characters:

Then out of the tulip comes Mavis.
She's blue from her nose to her knees.
On her feet she wears bright orange slippers.
Her hair is as green as the trees.

gentle philosophy:

But mostly God is a Not-Name
A word that is never a word.
Something you can't put your eyes on,
Like a song when you can't see the bird.

and Nowlan the Cat, who...

...knows an about night-time,
about darkness and various verbs
that are all about hunting and hiding,
and stalking and leaping and jumps.
A cat is all verbs, says small Milford.
He's a moving without any bumps.

Although some of the ideas and images may be too sophisticated for very young children -

...Names are like numbers with feeling,
the shape of a tree in the sun
God's an inside, an outside, an all-thing,
a backwards, a forwards, a maze

- they will still enjoy the warmth, gentleness and rhythm of this delightful poem. Older children will find many challenging ideas to pursue.

Bonnie McLean's whimsical black-and-white illustrations enhance this wonderful poem and beg to be coloured in.

Jane M. Smith, Calico Public School, North York, ON.
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