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Frank Edwards. Illustrated by John Bianchi.
Toronto, ON: Annick Press, 1990.
24pp., paper, $4.95.
ISBN 0-921285-20-5. cloth, $12.95. ISBN 0-921285-21-3. CIP.

Subject Headings:

Preschool-grade 3 / Ages 4-8

Reviewed by Joan Hewer.

Volume 19 Number 2
1991 March

Before opening this book, kids are bound to be hooked: by the title (what kid doesn't find the whole bath scene fascinating?); a guy called "Mortimer Mooner"?; then by the illustrations, another delightfully silly rendering by favourite, John Bianchi. Kids who have already enjoyed other "Bungalo Books" will not need a second invitation.

Mortimer Mooner starts out as a more than normal looking, regular, clean-cut guy (pig). Over the course of a week, day by day, Mortimer slides into totally disgusting squalor, in fact thoroughly immersing himself in the kind of filthy fun most kids only fantasize about. Kids should especially enjoy the illustration of Mortimer when he stopped brushing his teeth! Mortimer sinks so low, the only way left to go is up. And who helps him see the error of his ways? - his grandmother, who, though she loves him, will not even hug him. There is a message here - the age old "To receive your fair share of love and approval in this world, you have to keep yourself respectable," or something like that.

Kids will love the predictable pattern, the deliciously disgusting illustrations, the fun but firm grandma, and the "warm-fuzzy" ending. This is a fast reading book, little print on a page facing a huge illustration. Adults reading this book may want to practise saying "Mortimer Mooner" to loosen their lips.

John Bianchi and Frank Edwards began collaborating on books in 1986. (Bianchi usually produced his gems alone.) It would be great to see more from this team. Bungalo fans will love it!

Joan Hewer, J.D. Hogarth Public School, Fergus, ON.
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