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Denis Cote
Illustrated by Stephane Poulin
Montreal, La courte echelle, 1991. 96pp, paper, $7.95
ISBN 2-89021-165-7. (Roman jeunesse). CIP

Grades 7 and up/Ages 12 and up

Reviewed by Lou-Ann Layton

Volume 20 Number 3
1992 May

Les yeux d'Emeraude by Denis Cote is an intriguing work. It operates on a number of different levels, making it suitable and meaningful for readers of many ages.

The novel begins as a simple story. Maxime, who has always wanted a cat, finds a lonely, bedraggled feline in a park. Immediately drawn to the cat with its large emerald eyes, he decides to take it home, in spite of his father's severe allergy. However, the plot soon becomes much more complex, transformed into a science fiction story with a strong element of suspense. For this is no ordinary cat, but rather a being from another dimension, trapped in the body of a cat and able to communicate telepathically with Maxime.

Maxime's life begins to change, for better and for worse. His father's allergy to cats disappears, thanks to this same cat, Emeraude, but other, more troubling events take place as Maxime loses, for no apparent reason, his two best friends. We share Maxime's bewildering search to understand what has happened to his world and why.

This novel is clearly not suitable for Junior readers. The complexity of vocabulary, the emotional content, and the psychological elements make it unsuitable for readers below Intermediate level and, indeed, for all but the most advanced of core French students.

A teacher or librarian must also exercise caution in recommending this work to French Immersion students. Strong readers at the Intermediate level should find Les yeux d'Emeraude enjoyable and challenging, while poorer readers may be overwhelmed. The story is complex and engaging enough to interest older students, even at the Senior level. In a francophone environment, this novel would be a fine addition to any collection for young readers.

Lou-Ann Layton, Guelph, Ont.

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