________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 4 . . . . October 12, 2007

cover

Chester.

Mélanie Watt.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2007.
32 pp., hardcover, $18.95.
ISBN 978-1-55453-140-0.

Preschool-grade 3 / Ages 4-8.

Review by Reesa Cohen.

**** /4

internal art

The front cover of the charming picture book, Chester, indicates that there is trouble brewing inside. A mischievous cat with a smug smile is holding a red marker that has obviously been used to cross out the author's name and insert his own. Author/illustrator Melanie Watts is trying her best to write a picture book about a mouse in the house, but her cat wants a starring role in this story and, in fact, wants to write the book himself. And the battle is on as the dueling storytellers' fight spills over onto the title pages. Chester tries valiantly, and with mixed success, to muscle out the original author and, of course, the subject of this story, the mouse. The duel of wits, pens and words between Watts and her nemesis, Chester, plays out in a humorous way. With clever "one-upmanship" both in visual and verbal assaults, fun ensues for the reader in guessing just who is in control and which one will prevail in writing the story. Will it be the sharp and creative Watts or the plucky, meddlesome Chester? Watts seems to get the best of this audacious cat, and Chester's reaction will bring lots of chuckles. But it is the back cover that will really tickle the reader's funny bones.

     This contrived conflict between the author and the fearless, cheeky cat is playful and amusing to read. The artwork, which becomes part of the story itself rather than just a complement to the text, is rendered in pencil and watercolour and was assembled digitally.

Highly Recommended.

Reesa Cohen is a retired Instructor of Children's Literature and Information Literacy at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB.

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

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.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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