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Robert McConnell and Judi Gamble
Illustrated by Linda Potts

Toronto, Napoleon Publishing, 1991. 24pp, paper, $7.95, ISBN 0-929141-10-5
Distributed by Addison-Wesley. CIP

Grades 2 and up/Ages 7 and up
Reviewed by Brenda Partridge

Volume 20 Number 1
1992 January

Gobley, the "slow-moving, even-tempered" snail, is elected mayor because the other animals do not want any changes to be made to Pond Village. However, once in office, Gobley decides to exert his power and asks for changes to the natural way of life in his commu­nity, Billy Beaver is to stop cutting down trees, Beatrice Bee must halt all the buzzing of her bees, the robins are to eat no more fruit and berries, and Oscar Owl is to stay awake during the day. When the unfortunate consequences of such actions are brought to Gobley's attention, he tells the animals to revert to their former activities, and the balance of nature is not upset.

Gobley for Mayor is Judy Gamble's first children's publication. Co-author Robert McConnell is known for his adventures of Norbert Nipkin. Linda Potts' illustrations effectively wind themselves from the front cover, inside cover and title page lo the back cover. Gobley's path is easy to follow and the pictures give accurate clues to the progression of the story. However, the small format (6" x 8") and the heavy concentration of print on several pages do not do justice to the story or illustra­tions. Beginning readers would become easily discouraged by this crowding.

Napoleon Publishing advertises the book as juvenile fiction (ages four to eight). Although the story can be read to ages five and up, I consider the appropriate level for this paperback to be ages eight to twelve. The rich vocabulary, symbolic mayor's chain and subtle humour can be appreciated by the older child. Gobley's circular journey could have been squeezed into twenty-four pages if he had made three, not four, patterned visits to proclaim his new laws to the animals. At any grade level, this story would provide an excellent opening for discussions on up­coming municipal elections.


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