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Jirina Marton
Willowdale (Ont.), Annick Press, 1991. 22pp, library binding, ISBN 1-55037-155-X (library binding), $15.95, ISBN 1-55037-158-4 (paper), $5.95. CIP

Kindergarten to Grade 3/Ages 5 to 8

Reviewed by Brenda Partridge.

Volume 20 Number 2
1992 March

A young lad called Jirka lives with his mother and father. He loves to take the long way home from school, which allows him to travel through the woods and across the meadow. Jirka is permit­ted to take this way only when his mother is with him. However, one day, in an attempt to follow and catch a hot air balloon, he finds himself in the middle of the meadow, far away from home. To please his mom, he stops to pick a bouquet of wild flowers.

Jirka shares his flowers to make others happy. Bullies are a concern of his and a group of boys proceeds to tease him and follow him home. After stopping to help an elderly lady and coping with the rest of his flowers being blown in the wind, Jirka arrives home with a single wild rose for his mom.

I am disappointed in this story. The theme appears to change several times and the plot never really satisfies the reader by providing necessary details. No mention is made of the conse­quences of Jirka's traveling through the woods or meadow by himself. The reader is not left with a feeling that Jirka has really dealt with the bullies and won't be bothered again. I found the use of the word "elegant" to describe a young man inappropriate. Several of the sentences were stilted and lacked the flow necessary to make the oral reading of this story fluent.

The colourful, childlike illustrations by author-illustrator Jirina Marton give the story strength and allow the reader to indulge in a pictorial adventure. Children will relate to the simplicity of design used for Jirka and those he encounters.

Brenda Partridge, Percy Centennial Public School, Warkworth, Ont.
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