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Eileen Pettigrew
Illustrated by Tina Seemann
Richmond Hill (Ont.), Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 1992. 32pp, paper, $9.95
ISBN 1-55041-023-7. CIP.

Grades 2 to 4/Ages 7 to 9

Reviewed by Pat Butler.

Volume 21 Number 3
1993 May

In her first book for children, Eileen Pettigrew deals with the now commonplace garage sale and the effects possible within one family.

Desdemona's mother is an incurable garage sale shopper. Every Saturday morning she marches off with the advertise­ments in hand, returning with everything from a grizzly bear with a clock in its stomach to new furniture for the living room. She finds so many treasures that eventually all the space in the house is occupied by her finds and the garage is full of the familiar things that have been replaced.

Desdemona's father is beside himself, turning red and pulling out his hair, but neither he nor Desdemona's mother can come up with a solution to the overcrowding. It's up to the little girl to keep her family together and solve the problem by having a garage sale of her own. Placing a sign on the front door, she soon sells all her mother's purchases, and her father can once again sit in his favourite chair.

Both parents are portrayed as fairly powerless people who don't seem able to overcome their problems - the scatter­brained mother's shopping mania and the angry father's inability to cope with his unhappiness at losing his favourite things. The text goes along at a rapid pace that cartoonlike illustrations turn into a madcap feel. At the expense of inept adults, Desdemona is portrayed as a heroine because of her ability to provide a solution.

This book is aimed at older readers/ listeners. An optional purchase.

Pat Butler is a teacher-librarian in West Vancouver, British Columbia.
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