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Richard Thompson
Illustrated by Henry Fernandes
Victoria, Orca Book Publishers, 1994. 32pp, paper, $5.95
ISBN 1-55143-009-6. CIP

Grades 1 to 3/Ages 6 to 8

Reviewed by Catherine Mclnerney

Volume 22 Number 5
1994 October

This book by Richard Thompson begins with a good idea, but has a lacklustre effect. While watching the northern lights, Grandfa-ther entertains the family with tall tales about other winters he has experienced. However, in the middle of this plot, the author breaks Grandfather's stream of reminiscences by having the northern lights freeze and fracture. The break in the text seems as sharp as the broken fragments of light that land in the yard.

A power black-out also occurs at the same time; this event seems to slow the text and the family down in this spot. As the little girl, Chrissy, puts the northern lights back together and suspends them from the kitchen ceiling, the book picks up in mood again, and we get to hear more of Grandfather's stories.

The illustrations feature interesting mini-drawings at the bottom of each page of text. However, there is a lack of continuity between the drawings. The outside drawings are more monochromatic and stylized, while the inside drawings dance with colour, but are mostly in comic style. However, the illustrations are highly amusing and help to enliven the text.

I found this book disappointing, especially when compared with previous efforts by both the author and illustrator.

Catherine Mclnerney is a children's librarian with the St. Catharines Public Library.

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