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Deirdre Kessler
Illustrated by Brenda Jones

Charlottetown (P.E.I.), Ragweed Press, 1990. 36pp, paper, $5.95, ISBN 0-921556-01-2. (Available in English as Lobster in My Pocket, reviewed vol. XVI/1 January 1988, p. 16). CIP

Kindergarten to Grade 3/Ages 5 to 8
Reviewed by Judith A. Coalman.

Volume 19 Number 2
1991 March

Dominque vit dans un village de peche. Un jour, elle entend une toute petite voix qui vient d'une des caisses de homards et elle decouvre Miracle, un homard qui a le don de la parole.

This story has a familiar ring because Dominique does liberate Miracle from the certain destiny of a lobster pot and, predictably, Miracle saves Dominique from a full maritime gale. Nevertheless, author Deirdre Kessler and translator Monique Lafontaine create a gentle mood suggesting the isolation of a fishing community and the potential loneliness for Dominique: "Dominique attend. Elle se sent seule. Personne de son age n'habite les environs. Ses camarades d'ecole viennent rarement chez elle."

Her wonderful grandmother, Mamie, is her constant support. They under­stand each other without speaking. Furthermore, Mamie allows her to wear her beloved toque everywhere "et tout le temps meme lorsqu'il fait chaud." Each year a new toque is knit by Mamie and the old ones are shrunk for Dominique's dolls.

The illustrations enhance the text. Brenda Jones, the illustrator, combines an accuracy of detail with a delightful whimsy. Her soft wash and pencil illustrations of the shrunken toques on dolls and teddy, and another of a lobster claw tossing Dominique's soggy toque back from the sea depths are just two examples of this carefully crafted harmony.

Only Mamie believes Dominique when she insists that Miracle, the lobster, does speak and is quite eloquent in poetry! Her mother and father tend to lose patience with her, especially after realizing how close she came to drown­ing. Once again her Mamie gently turns aside the anger of Papa by reassuring everyone. "C'est une journee MIRACULEUSE, n'est-ce pas Dominique?" (dit elle) when she shows Dominique that Grisou, her cat, has returned complete with a litter of kittens on the very day that Dominique had been saved from drowning by Miracle, l'homard.

This book is a welcome addition to our school library. Bienvenue a Un Howard dans ma poche, de toutes les bibliotheques et des enfants qui voudraient gouter la vie maritime ... et peut-etre avoir le reve d'un animal favori comme Miracle.

Judith A. Coalman, Edward Johnson School, Guelph, Ont.
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