CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Ted Staunton.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 1990.
118pp., paper, $4.95.
ISBN 0-921103-73-5. CIP.

Grades 3-5 / Ages 8-10

Reviewed by Christine Buchanan.

Volume 18 Number 6
1990 November

Great Minds Think Alike continues the adventures and misadventures of Maggie and Cyril, who have been previously introduced to Canadian children in titles such as Taking Care of Crumley ¹, Maggie and Me ², Greenapple Street Blues ³, and Mushmouth and the Marvel4.

In this latest volume, Cyril deals with the approach of summer and its attendant complications, such as organizing an appropriate farewell to his favourite teacher Mr. Flynn, battling for prestige with his arch-enemy Russell Hummaker, avoiding his bossy and unpredictable Aunt Gertrude, and, of course, keeping up with his friend Maggie.

When his family rents a cottage by a lake and takes Maggie with them, he discovers to his amazement that Russell and Mr. Flynn are also in nearby cottages, and that Aunt Gertrude is coming, too. His parents say that he must not bother the beloved Mr. Flynn, but he must play with the despised Russell. Events continue at a fast and furious pace, and just when Cyril thinks his reputation is at its lowest, he manages to redeem himself, partly due to sheer luck but also due to some of his own achievements.

Like the other Maggie and Cyril books, this story has a readable and informal style, familiar settings of home, school, playground and the cottage, a warm and uncomplicated family life, and rather predictable pre-teen humour. The story is told from Cyril's perspective, and his narration of both events and his changing feelings draws the reader in.

This novel will be a good choice for readers in grades 3 and 4 who are just moving to longer books with chapters, and for those grade 5 readers who need an easier book that is fun to read and will keep their interest.

Christine Buchanan, Toronto, ON.

¹ Reviewed vol. Xlll/2 March 1985, p.86.
² Reviewed vol. XV/2 March 1987, p.62.
³ Reviewed vol. XVI/3 May 1988, p. 91.
4 Reviewed vol. XVII/2 March 1989, p.74.

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