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Brenda Bellingham.
Richmond Hill, ON: Scholastic Canada, 1991.
64pp., paper, $3.50.
ISBN 0-590-73765-1. CIP.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9

Reviewed by Carol Carver.

Volume 19 Number 4
1991 September

Eight-year-old Jeff wants only to fit in with the crowd, but when cheery, unkempt Tilly joins his third grade classroom, he finds himself attracted to her outrageous stories and devil-may-care attitude. Jeff's feelings turn to dismay as classmates reject Tilly's "lies" about wild bears and dragons. Pressured by his parents to invite Tilly to his birthday party, Jeff finds his problems growing when she promises him a gift of white mice. Should he believe her and buy a cage or follow the disbelief of his friends?

Bellingham has created an easy-to-read chapter book with believable characters. Twinkle-eyed Tilly remains upbeat in the face of ostracism, and Jeff, in confronting his ambivalence, becomes less dependent on the approval of his peers. A catchy refrain, with changing alliterative verbs, recurs throughout the text, for example, "Did Tilly Perkins mope? Did Tilly Perkins mind? No she did not."

Frequent realistic drawings by Wakefield add to the attraction of this large-print book, which is part of the "Shooting Star" series aimed at newly independent readers. The cover, which unfortunately reveals the conclusion, and the title, which refers to Tilly's penchant for unusual attire, seem designed to appeal to girls, although the plot will interest boys and girls equally.

A test group of grade 2 students, after reading the opening chapters, found the main characters likeable and the story-line exciting. Suitable for reading aloud.


Carol Carver, Dieppe School, Winnipeg, MB.
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