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Fernandes, Eugenie
Illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes and Kim Fernandes
Toronto, Annick Press, 1993. 32pp, paper,
ISBN 0-55037-327-7 (paper) $4.95,
ISBN 1-55037-324-2 (library binding) $14.95.
Distributed by Firefly Books. CIP

Kindergarten to Grade 3/Ages 5 to 8

Reviewed by Jennifer Johnson

Volume 21 Number 6
1993 November

Aunt Pearl agrees to watch the baby so that Heather and her mother can spend some time together. She does insist that the baby be asleep before they go. Nap time arrives but the baby won't co-operate, so the threesome go for a walk. They meet a variety of "characters," including the river, the wind, the moon, birds and a cat, all of whom give advice on how to get the baby to sleep. None of the suggestions works, but, finally, the baby drops off on the way home and Heather and her mom are free to be together.

Fernandes addresses the desire and need for the older sibling to spend some time alone, if only during nap time, with her parent(s). The pattern of question and answer from each character works well, as do the suggestions: the river suggests they rock the baby to sleep, the wind suggests they try fresh air, and the birds suggest they sing the baby to sleep. The fantasy pattern and logic are broken, however, when the final character, a cat selling garbage, offers fish heads. This shift in rhythm and expectations is disconcerting.

Fernandes achieves a gentle flow in her text and uses some attractive phrasing ("into the busy outside"), but the consistent use of "it" for the baby is an irritant, as is the cat episode.

Eugenie Fernandes, an experienced illustrator of numerous picture-books, has, in this book, collaborated with her daughter, Kim. Two media are used, gouache (Eugenie) and Fimo (Kim). As Heather advances into the fantasy element of the tale, gouache gives way to Fimo. This brilliant modeling material is used effectively to re-create Eugenie's characteristic human faces with minimal features. The models provide detail and humour and carry Eugenie's loose lines and sense of perpetual motion into relief.

This Fernandes collaboration is a positive one with regard to illustration, but a tighter story-line would have made this a double success.


Jennifer Johnson works as a children's librarian in Ottawa, Ontario
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