CM . . .
. Volume XXIV Number 28. . . .March 23, 2018
The Whirlpool: Stories.
Laurel Croza. Illustrations by Kelsey Garrity-Riley.
Toronto, ON: Groundwood, May, 2018.
95 pp., hardcover, ePub & Kindle, $16.95 (hc.), $14.95 (ePub), $14.95 (mobi).
ISBN 978-1-77306-032-3 (hc.), ISBN 978-1-77306-033-0 (ePub), ISBN 978-1-77306-034-7 (Kindle).
Grades 5-9 / Ages 10-14.
Review by Lacey Crowie.
There’s no need for Snapchat or text messages in a high school cafeteria at lunchtime. All you have to do is sit at one of the tables. Guaranteed, after a minute or two, you’ll know everything there is know. It’s all here. Carried just above our heads. Words surging and swelling and rolling across the cafeteria like bodysurfers at a concert. Talk washing over us, flooding us with the ohmygods, the names, the details. Everyone, even the quiet ones, caught up in the rumors. The gossip. The whirlpool.
The Whirpool is a collection of seven short stories which each give a brief glance into their main character’s life. The stories, which are not connected and vary in length, include such elements as an aggressive father, the rumor mill (or “whirlpool”), teen rivalry, a doll personified, and a young girl’s dream to play hockey.
The Whirlpool is an easy ready, and the short story structure (each story ranges from approximately 8-20 pages) may be less intimidating for reluctant or struggling readers, compared to a novel format. The vocabulary is simple, yet the stories are beautifully written and described.
This short story collection would be a great tool within the classroom as readers only receive a small glimpse into the lives of the characters, leaving room for imagination and experimentation in furthering each character’s story. Further to this, the themes touched on in many of the stories, including violence, gossip, loss, and hope, can help to open a discussion among younger audiences.
Lacey Crowie works in the School of Business Dean’s office at Kwantlen Polytechnic University and is currently completing her Master’s in Children’s Literature at the University of British Columbia.
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