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Carrie Heide Wachsmann

Abbotsford (B.C.), Heart Beat Produc­tions, 1991. 153pp, paper, $9.95, ISBN 1-895I1-201-X
Distributed by Heart Beat Productions, Box 633, Abbotsford, B.C. V2S 6R7

Grades 4 and up/Ages 9 and up
Reviewed by Joan Weller.

Volume 20 Number 1
1992 January

Here is a badly conceived and poorly written novel that attempts in & most amateurish style to be a fantasy. The language throughout is rooted in the ordinary vernacular, which is unpleas­ant to the senses. The second paragraph of the book's first page sets the tone of the realistic opening setting:

"Grandma dear, that was delicious," he said, wiping the crumbs from his bushy, Fu Manchu mustache. Reaching across the table, he helped himself to a toothpick and began to clean his teeth in a familiar and distinctive manner.

Readers are then introduced to the hero and heroine of the story, namely, ten-year-old Jessica and thirteen-year-old David. Through reading a story in a mysterious old book belonging to their grandfather, this unappealing duo find themselves catapulted into a fantasy world where they are quickly anointed by the mysterious Ryder to save a fantastical kingdom from wicked enchanters.

What follows are events lacking in any real magic. Shades of Narnia are not too difficult to see behind the clouds, but any similarity stops with the unlikeable characters, awkward lan­guage, and events, which are mouthed rather than happen. The Ryder comes to the rescue and in a moment enchant­ment ends. Religious overtones are all too pervasive here, especially when on being rescued the cast of characters breaks into a chorus from Handel's Messiah.

Fantasy is a genre too fragile and precious to be taken lightly and authors hoping to create fantasy need to read the best of the genre in order to under­stand its great demands.

Joan Weller, Ottawa Public Library, Ottawa, Ont.
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