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Nick Bantock
New York, Viking Penguin, 1991. 12pp, laminated board, $11.99
ISBN 0-670-84085-8. Distributed by Penguin Books Canada. CIP

Grades 7 and up/Ages 12 and up

Reviewed by Terri MacLean.

Volume 20 Number 2
1992 March

In Lewis Carroll's classic Through the Looking Glass, Alice discovers the poem "Jabberwocky," which she cannot read until she looks at it in a mirror. The poem is syntactically accurate but semantically incomprehensible, not unlike many of the speeches made by politicians these days. AH Alice can make of the poem is that "somebody or something gets killed." Because of its nonsensical nature, "Jabberwocky" plays an important role in setting the mood of Carroll's classic tale. For this reason 1 think that introducing children to a graphic interpretation of the poem before they have had a chance to encounter it in the context of the book would be doing them a great disservice.

Nick Bantock's interpretation, which is brilliantly supported with pop-ups, is violent, to say the least. When the reader turns the last page, the Jabberwocky, who has previously been killed, comes bursting out of the top of the old man's head. Bantock's illustra­tion graphically portrays bits of skin and skull all around the page.

While I have no doubt that children would love this book and that it would be in constant circulation, I do not believe that it belongs in a junior school library. Since I had decided not to add my review copy to our school collection, I offered it to my teenage daughter to give to one of her friends as a Christmas gift. She immediately fell in love with the book, and asked me to get another copy for her friend because she did not want to part with it. All of her friends with whom she shared the book found it hysterically funny.

The book may well have a place in secondary school libraries, where it could be enjoyed by young people who have already speculated along with Alice and Humpty Dumpty about the nature of "slithy toths" and "momoraths," and who have formed their own images of "mimsy borogroves." Art teachers would find the pop-ups useful as examples of very sophisticated feats of paper engineering.

Not recommend for Primary and Junior grades. Recommended for Intermediate and Senior grades.

Terri MacLean, Elora Junior Public School, Elora, Ont.
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