CM Archive
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Karin Jasper
Illustrated by Sharon Adams

Toronto, Is Five Press, 1989. 17pp, paper, $5.95, ISBN 0-920934-32-3
Distributed by Marvin Melnyk Associates Ltd., Box 220, Queenston, Ont. LOS 1LO. (Please add $2.50 for shipping & handling). CIP

Grades 3 to 5/Ages 8 to 10
Reviewed by Theo Hersh.

Volume 18 Number 3
1990 May

Ginny perceives herself and is perceived by others as "too fat." This story tells with sensitivity how Ginny moves from low self-esteem and unsuccessful dieting to confidence and acceptance of her natural body size. She is helped by the school councillor, the nurse and her mother.

Stories like this one, produced for the purpose of instruction, are often didactic and awkwardly written. There are places when this text lapses into a preachy and clumsy style, but Ginny comes alive as a real person on the page and not as the representative fat "every girl." Mary Cunningham, the councillor, and Joan Armstrong, the nurse, are somewhat stereotyped, but Ginny's mother and her friend Ashley are believable. The story, if it is introduced to them, will engage young readers' interest.

The book, however, looks instructional. It begins with a note to parents and teachers and an introduction aimed at adults. The print is much too small for grade 3 to 4 readers and the black-and-white illustrations are merely adequate. These are not features attractive to children.

Books that try to reach two distinct audiences often fail because they turn off the juvenile reader. Perhaps packaging the material in two parts - parent/teacher guide and children's book - would broaden the appeal.

Certainly, the issue of natural body size is not one for only the overweight to deal with but one also for the "fat bigots" to consider. Are You Too Fat, Ginny? is an admirable attempt to raise the issue.

Theo Hersh, Toronto Public Library, Toronto, Ont.
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