CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Clive Dobson

Toronto, Firefly Books, 1989. 32pp, paper, ISBN 0-920668-60-7 (cloth) $12.95, ISBN 0-920668-59-3 (paper) $4.95

Kindergarten to Grade 6/Ages 5 to 11
Reviewed by Hazel Birt.

Volume 18 Number 3
1990 May

Toronto illustrator Clive Dobson writes on a timely topic - the "couch potato." Young Fred spends all his free time slouching on the couch, snacking and watching TV hour after hour until his mind becomes stupefied.

Father becomes angry. He hauls the TV into a basement storage room. Does that stop a dedicated TV junkie? Not at all. Fred simply plugs the TV in and sits in the musty room watching his favourite programs. Father throws the TV out in the back yard. This is a big mistake. It starts to rain. When Fred finds an extension cord and plugs it in, the TV explodes.

This is the beginning of a new life for Fred. When the TV repairman takes away the insides to be fixed, Fred observes birds taking refuge in the empty cabinet. Gradually he begins to feed them. He still sits in front of the TV but he begins to change as he responds to the life of the birds and they in turn begin to respond to him and rely on him for food.

Dobson is a magazine illustrator and author of a previous book on birds, Feeding Wild Birds in Winter (Firefly Books, 1981). The birds in Fred's TV are the most interesting and well done part of the cartoon-style coloured pencil illustrations. There are some nice touches - Fred, with his cat wound around his neck, peering out in the early morning to check on the bird feeder. The thermometer outside shows 10 below.

The well-bound book has attractive bright red inside covers. The format, with a few lines of text facing a full-page illustration, would lend itself to group readings and perhaps discussions on bad habits or interesting hobbies such as bird watching.

Hazel Birt, Winnipeg, Man.
line indexes


1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission Copyright information for reviewers

Young Canada Works