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Francois Caumartin
Translated by David Homel
Richmond Hill (Ont.), Scholastic Canada, 1993. 24pp, paper, $5.95, ISBN 0-590-74035-0
Available in French as Cachettes et camouflages from Les editions du Raton Laveur, 1990. CIP

Pre-school to Grade 2/Ages 3 to 7

Reviewed by Linda Holeman.

Volume 21 Number 4
1993 September

Oh, oh. The first page of this book shows Simon, the famous hunter, in his trophy room. There are animal heads on the wall, and Simon is planning on adding to his collection. This may send a shiver up the spine of adults trying to teach peace and the preservation of all things wild and free. But wait.

Simon is outwitted by the animals, who are obviously much more clever. They disguise themselves to blend into the scenery (an elephant as a boulder, alligators as palm fronds) or, using paint, they are able to resemble safe, domesticated animals (a rhinoceros as a cow). Caumartin's bright illustrations are quirky and hilarious.

After searching far and wide, Simon returns home (fortunately) empty-handed. But the animals have a message they composed for Simon and others like him:

All you hunters hear our song,
Don't bother bringing guns along.
Instead of shooting that giraffe,
Why don't you take a photograph?

The book, taking a gentle poke at the insensitivity and clouded vision of game hunters, presents opportunities for discus­sion on the vices of killing for sport and the loss of endangered species. As well, some of the vocabulary (words like camouflage and savanna) can be useful for further dialogue.

This is a fun book — recommended.

Linda Holeman, a former elementary teacher, now writes full time in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
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