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Guillet, J.P.
Illustrated by Gilles Tibo; translated by Sheila Fischman. Waterloo (Que.), Quintin Publishers, 1992. 31pp, cloth, $12.95, ISBN 2-920438-72-7. (Ecological Tales). Also available in French as La poudre magique. CIP.

Kindergarten to Grade 6/Ages 5 to 11

Reviewed by Hugh A. Cook

Volume 21 Number 1
1993 January

There is a great deal of material available for ecological study of our environment but not too much of value in the fiction section. Here the good King Pip has become distraught over the problems caused by "harmful" insects. His vegetables have holes in them. His flowers are being attacked by aphids and other crawling creatures. He becomes an easy target for Mook Chook, a "scientist" who has the cure-all. All King Pip's kingdom needs to do is use Mook Chock's purple powder.

In spite of the pleas of his daughter, Princess Clementine, the king orders the powder to be distributed throughout the entire kingdom. The people, who at first are so happy to get rid of the nasty bugs, come to realize that there are a great many problems that arise from the overuse of this purple powder.

At this point in the story the story-teller should be able to get a large variety of responses from the children concerning the probable outcome of the use of such a toxic substance. Most children of today can tell you that a cure-all is probably going to be a greater problem than the bugs it is intended to eliminate, and most adults will get the immediate connection to DDT.

The illustrator, Gilles Tibo, has done a superb job using soft colours and gentle, flowing landscapes for his pictures. The excellent illustrations tell the young child what to expect even before the words are read.

This would be a good addition to the Primary fiction shelf.

Hugh A. Cook is a retired elementary librarian in Maple, Ontario
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