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Wooding, Penny
St. John's, Breakwater, 1992. 32pp, paper, $8.95, ISBN 1-55081-015-4. CIP

Kindergarten to Grade 3/Ages 5 to 8

Reviewed by Patricia Fry

Volume 20 Number 5
1992 October

"Things are not always what they seem" is the theme of this children's story, in which a horse named Scamper confronts his fear of the bush monster.

The action starts on a beautiful day when Scamper decides to go for a walk by himself. Everything is fine until he sees something green and shiny lurking under a bush. In his haste to escape this bush monster and to reach the safety of the barn, Scamper knocks over Jenny, who's on her skateboard. And for the first time, the reader hears the refrain, "You naughty Scamper!"

The next two days, Scamper tries to confront the bush monster, but each time his fear gets the best of him and he ends up knocking someone down in his haste to reach the safety of the barnyard. The children begin to anticipate this pattern and soon join in the chant, "You naughty Scamper!" Finally, Nanny Cat agrees to go with him, and Scamper discovers that monsters aren't always what they seem, as every child who has seen strange shapes lurking under beds and in closets will be comforted to hear.

The illustrations are full-colour, one per page. All the drawings, which are done by the author, use bright primary colours against a black background. They have an attractive cartoon quality because certain features, such as the eyes, are exaggerated. Scamper, the book character, is based on the author's horse, also named Scamper, a fifteen-year-old Appaloosa gelding. According to the author, the real Scamper loves to eat, laugh and be naughty. A photograph of Scamper and the author, Penny Wooding, is on the back cover of the book. Wooding teaches in an elementary school in Newfoundland. This is her first book.

Naughty Scamper Meets the Bush Monster will appeal to Primary students, most of whom will identify with Scamper's fear. With the repetitive sequences and refrains, it also works well as a read-aloud choice.

Patricia Fry is a teacher-librarian with the Peel Board of Education in Mississauga, Ontario

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