________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 18 . . . . April 27, 2007


The List.

Hazel Hutchins. Illustrated by Maria van Lieshout.
Toronto, ON: Annick Press, 2007.
32 pp., pbk. & cl., $8.95 (pbk.), $19.95 (cl.).
ISBN 978-1-55451-063-4 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55451-064-1 (cl.).

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 3-7.

Review by Ellie Contursi.

*** /4


There was once a tiny kingdom that was known for its kindness -- always first to help its neighbours in times of need, always first to congratulate them in times of joy. One day it sent joyful news of its own: A royal baby has been born in the kingdom of Thibodeau!

Far away, in the land of Iddison, the Queen was delighted. "We shall make a trip to help them celebrate," she announced. "We shall bring the child splendid gifts from our own land, and along the way we shall gather all the marvels of our travels as well."

The Queen began to make a list, for she did not want to miss any of the marvels. The royal daughter, Cassidy, began to make a list too. This made her mother smile, because Cassidy was a very little princess and had only learned to print things like the letters of the alphabet and her name, which often came out in a rather backward upside-down fashion...

When a royal baby is born in the kingdom of Thibodeau, its neighbour, the Queen of Iddison, is overjoyed. Immediately, she begins to plan their excursion to visit the new addition and announces that, as they journey to Thibodeau, they will gather magnificent gifts along their way. Naturally, she makes a list of gifts as does her royal daughter, Cassidy. Curiously, Cassidy's list consists of a small piece of paper while her mother's is quite long, resembling a scroll.

     As they set off on their journey, they are followed by eight enormous elephants pulling eight enormous carts meant to carry the gifts for the new baby. Cassidy, however, rides her pony and is equipped with only her teddy bear and a small bundle containing a change of clothes and her toothbrush. On their journey, they gather the finest of foods, toys and amazing inventions. They acquire precious stones and wonderful jewelry, delicate cottons and shiny silks. As they continue, they gather rainbow colours of sands from the desert. In the jungle, they find exotic wood and spectacular flowers. They are joined by parrots, monkeys, and jaguars as well. After each stop, the Queen checks her list and nods, and Cassidy checks her list and nods, each satisfied that they have the best gifts.

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      Finally they arrive in the kingdom of Thibodeau. The Queen is overwhelmed by the generosity of the gifts for her child. Finally, it is Cassidy's turn to give the baby her gift. She approaches and gives the baby two kisses and one hug which is precisely what appears on her list - X, X and O. The best acknowledgment of this gift is the baby's first smile.

     The List is an enjoyable story that illustrates the true value of love and affection above material riches. Colourful artwork of illustrator Maria van Lieshout adds to the cheerful flavour of the tale in full-page colour spreads.



Ellie Contursi is a librarian in London, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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