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Grater, Lindsay
Toronto, Annick Press, 1992. 24pp, library binding, ISBN 1-55037-213-0 (library binding) $15.95, ISBN 1-55037-210-6 (paper) $5.95. Distributed by Firefly Books. CIP

Kindergarten to Grade 3/Ages 5 to 8

Reviewed by Anna Santarossa

Volume 20 Number 4
1992 September

Runaway Row is the story of five houses that live on Ratscuttle Row near various factories. The houses spend their time "gossiping ... and watching the comings and goings at the factories." Unfortunately, the houses are going to be knocked down to make extra space for the modern new factories that are planned. New houses across town are being built for the families that live in Ratscuttle Row.

The night before the Ratscuttle Row houses are to be destroyed, they make a wish on a shooting star and the houses are ripped up from the ground and begin to move. The inconsiderate houses flatten flowerbeds, knock off a statue's head and rip deep tracks through several fields before coming to a stop in the middle of a field, where they wait for people to find them.

I found this story dull and trivial. I just cannot empathize with these homes and their plight. Furthermore, I object to the values that are portrayed in the story. Gossiping and disregard for private/public property are not values that I would like to see encouraged.

The way in which the houses solve their dilemma is also undesirable. Instead of trying to come up with creative or positive solutions, the homes simply complain and whine. If it weren't for that shooting star that just happened by, the homes would have been destroyed.

I do not recommend this book.

Anna Santarossa is a teacher-librarian at Pope John Paul II Elementary School in Bolton, Ontario.

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