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bp Nichol
Illustrated by Michele Nidenoff
Windsor (Ont.), Black Moss Press, 1991. 22pp, paper, $4.95
ISBN 0-88753-230-6. Distributed by Firefly Books. CIP

Junior Kindergarten to Grade3/Ages 4 to 8

Reviewed by Carol Carver

Volume 20 Number 2
1992 March

This attempt to honour the late poet bp Nichol three years after his death is well meant but misguided. One of his poems has been developed as a concept book for numbers 1 to 9 and 0. Unfortu­nately, whether the actual concept is counting or multiplication is not clearly delineated.

Each double-page spread of succes­sive numbers has a short rhyme and illustration, for example,

Once I saw
1 one
on a hamburger bun.

The rhythm is catchy but some of the lines are difficult to read ("along long tree-lined drives") or to understand ("fours/addressing different doors"). To a child, the most incomprehensible is the final verse:

Zero times I saw
0 zeroes
because you always see
0 zeroes
which means I never saw
0 zeroes
was what I saw.

Michele Nidenoff's bright, colourful drawings, which feature bubbly, elfin boys wearing sneakers and oversized T-shirts emblazoned with large numerals, help to clarify the words. However, if the book's purpose is to illustrate multiplication, the concept would have been more easily understood with, for example, four objects on each T-shirt rather than just the numeral 4.

A test group of Primary students enjoyed the "cute" and "funny" illustra­tions, but some felt that the words were dull and confusing.

Recommended only as additional material.

Carol Carver, Dieppe School, Winnipeg, Man.
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