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Ted Staunton. Illustrated by Eric Parker.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 1990.
29pp., paper, $11.95.
ISBN 1-55074002-4. CIP.

Kindergarten-grade 4 / Ages 5-9

Reviewed by Patricia L. M. Butler.

Volume 18 Number 6
1990 November

Ted Staunton moves away from his younger Puddleman¹ audience by giving us Neptunia Fishley, a spinner of tall sea tales with herself as the heroine. In her cottage at Grumpkin-on-Scone, she captures the attention of her two young companions to tea (the seaweed variety, served with eels on toast) by telling them the story of how she saved her father's ship, the Esmerelda, when she was a young girl.

Plenty of colourful sea-faring language is used to tell of how Neptunia saves the cargo (the crates from the Crown Jewel Co. hold bicycles rather than precious gems!) from pirates with great hairy arms and kilts. She subsequently employs ingenious inventions to bring the crew, cargo and pirates home safely through a typhoon, shipwreck, and the doldrums.

The wacky events take place at such a rapid pace that two readings are necessary to feel that the story has been understood. This complexity of storyline, the amount of sailing jargon used, and the busy, detailed cartoonlike illustrations seem to indicate that this book should be recommended for the upper age range of the audience for which it was intended.

Patricia L. M. Butler, Scarborough, ON.

¹Reviewed vol. XVII/2 March 1989, p.88.

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