CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Sean O' Huigin
Illustrated by John Fraser
Windsor (Ont.), Black Moss Press, 1993. 24pp,
paper, $4.95, ISBN 0-88753-967-X.
Distributed by Firefly Books. CIP

Kindergarten-grade 3 / Ages 5-8

Reviewed by Theo Hersh

Volume 22 Number 4
1994 September

Sean O' Huigin's short, punchy lines suit the delightfully funny poems set in this collection about everyday childhood disasters. From telling about falling off a bike to catching the measles and chicken pox, O' Huigin has caught a child's choppy cadence in relating these earth-shattering events.

Yet it is an uneven collection. Starting off strongly with "crash," the collection moves spiritedly until the middle. "the dentist" departs from the other poems in voice. In this poem the adult persona is very intrusive. It is not that O' Huigin feigns a child's voice in the others; it is just that he has so well captured the child's perspective. In "the dentist" he is talking to his young readers from the adult perch of greater experience. It is not a poor poem, but one that changes the tone of the collection. He does not get back into the swing again until the last poem, "vaccination," which truly describes a child's anxious feelings as he or she is lined up for a needle.

The collection describes terrible accidents such as breaking a leg and cutting off a finger, without being horrific--a little macabre, perhaps, humorously so--but not "gross."

The bright water-color illustrations complement that treatment. They are cartoon like with over-sized-headed characters, slightly and comically grotesque.

A Dozen MilIion Spills and Other Disasters is a collection of poems youngsters can comfortably read themselves. O' Huigin's verse is an excellent way by which to introduce children to that some times dreaded literary genre--poetry.

Theo Hersh is a children's librarian with the Toronto Public Library in Toronto, Ontario

line indexes



The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission Copyright information for reviewers

francaisDigital Collections / Collections Numérisees francais