CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Robert McConnell
Illustrated by Steve Pilcher; translated by Marie-Andree Warnant-Cote

Toronto, Napoleon Publishing, 1990. 48pp, paper, $19.95, ISBN 0-929141-07-5.
Distributed by Diffusion du Livre Mirabel, 8925 Boul. St. Laurent, Mon­treal, Que. HZN IMS.
Available in English as Norbert Nipkin and the Magic Riddle Stone (reviewed vol. X1X/3 May 1991, p. 172). CIP

Grade 4 to 6/ Ages 9 to 11
Reviewed by Judy Coulman

Volume 20 Number 1
1992 January

Isn't it wonderful to have Norbert back after such a long absence! Fortu­nately, also, this Norbert Nipkin has aged along with his readers. Indeed, the text and theme of Norbert Nipkin et la pierre aux enigmes will interest the Junior student. However, both the complexity of the story and the difficulty of the language limit the use of the book. Younger readers, although they natu­rally identify with Norbert, cannot sustain their attention for the lengthy prose or manage the various threads of the narrative.

The artwork of Steve Pilcher height­ens the enjoyment of Robert McConnell's text. In fact, I can't imag­ine Norbert in any other context. This character exemplifies the melding of the art of the story-teller with the imagina­tion of the artist!

Unfortunately, in my opinion, the translation by Marie-Andree Warnant-Cote further limits the audience for this edition. She has faced an incredible challenge translating the rich tapestry of McConnell's text. Problems ensue with children in a second-language learning mode. The vocabulary and syntax/ structure are new, and thus the fluency and pure pleasure of reading, or listening, are hobbled and vanish into profound frustration! Obviously, as the language requirements for this book are attained, the interest in reading about wee Norbert diminishes.

For all of our francophone children, though, this book will become a classic! Every collection should have a copy of this book, and, depending on your "clientele," you will probably want more.

Judy Coulman, Guelph, Ont.
line indexes


1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission Copyright information for reviewers

Young Canada Works