CM April 5, 
1996. Vol. II, Number 25

image Ten Mondays for Lots of Boxes.

Sue Ann Alderson. Illustrated by Caddie T'Kenye.
Vancouver: Ronsdale Press, 1995. 32pp, paper, $6.95.
ISBN: 0-921870-32-9.

Preschool - grade 3 / Ages 4 - 8.
Review by A. Edwardsson.



ON THE THIRD MONDAY, the first thing Lots of Boxes did after he moved was call up Easy as Pie. "We're still friends," said Lots of Boxes. "Now we're telephone friends." "Always will be," said Easy as Pie. Lots of Boxes felt better. Now all he needed was a face-to-face friend, one with the right sort of name.
He went for a walk on the beach near his house. He walked out to the edge of the crabbing dock. A girl was pulling in her crabtrap, hand-over-hand. Lots of Boxes helped her, hand-over-hand. At the bottom of the trap, two small brown crabs wrestled. "Want to toss one back?" asked the girl. She showed him how, behind the claws, to thumb-and-finger round the middle. They tossed them back together.
"What's your name?" asked Lots of Boxes. "Sky Climber," said the girl. It was the right sort of name . . . .
ON THE FIFTH MONDAY, Lots of Boxes made a Thronk from his blue playdough and some sticks. He set it on the lawn between the plum trees to see what it would catch.
A Wandering Blue-Eyed Glumfy came. He shied at the Thronk; he bellied up to the Thronk; he sniffed the Thronk all over.
Then the Glumfy wagged his tail and ever so gently picked the Thronk up in his mouth. Squashes galoshes! How that Wandering Blue-Eyed Glumfy did run CIRCLES on that lawn. He looked about to take off and FLY with that zesty Thronk held ever so gently in his mouth."

image This children's book, the fourteenth by author Sue Ann Alderson (Ida and the Wool Smugglers), is a disappointment. The strange title refers to the story's format -- we follow young Lots of Boxes (self-named for his love of boxes) through ten Mondays' worth of moving and settling in a new neighbourhood.

The prose for this picture book does contain some wonderfully descriptive phrases, like -- "ON THE EIGHTH MONDAY, the sky grizzled and drizzled and the flowers that were already out drooped and shivered and wanted to go back in again." But some of the imagery rings false, as when the boy, wanting to cross the street, holds up his arm to stop oncoming buses: "The second row of Thundering Dunderblusses slowed and stopped, so did the third, until the whole herd was tame as penguins on an iceberg in mid-summer." (Are penguins particularily docile in summer?)


The contrived nicknames of the characters (listed on the first page under the heading "Cast of Characters"), are a turn-off that keeps readers at a distance. Still, there are some touching moments. Sky Climber plants and nurtures a strawberry bed, but one night the Glumfy/dog rolls in it, leaving the seedlings in shreds. Lots of Boxes help her replant and build a fence around the patch. They also dig up another patch of earth for the dog to enjoy.

The black-and-white pencil illustrations by Caddie T'Kenye are not appealing. The childrens' eyes have almost no whites, the pupils can't be distinguished, and in general, the iris and eyes are out of proportion to the rest of their features. Teeth often look dark and discolored. And Lots of Boxes is not "boyish" enough, and could be mistaken for a girl if the text didn't identify his gender.

Although the book contains some interesting imagery, it has a number of problems.

Not recommended.

A. Edwardsson is in charge of the Children's Department at a branch of the Winnipeg Public Library. She has a Bachelor of Education degree and a Child Care Worker III certification, and is a member of the Manitoba branch of the Canadian Authors' Association.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to

Copyright © 1996 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