________________ CM . . . . Volume VIII Number 10 . . . . January 18, 2002

cover Business in Bangkok.

Lynn Westerhout. Illustrated by Chum McLeod.
Toronto, ON: Second Story Press, 2001.
24 pp., cloth, $14.95.
ISBN 1-896764-48-7.

Kindergarten to Grade 2 / Ages 5-7.

Review by Denise Weir.

*** /4

excerpt:

"Who will make my lunch?"

"Well, I could," said Corey's dad. "I always make breakfast so I could make your lunch. But.... so could you."

image When Corey learns that his mother will be away for 10 days on a business trip to Bangkok, he is worried about who will take care of him. Corey's father answers Corey's concerns in ways that reassure him and help him gain self-confidence.

     The large print format of this book will appeal to young children who are beginning to read. The illustrations of this book are rather unusual in that the parents' heads end squarely at the eye-brow. It may be that the illustrator is trying to convey the sense that young children are focusing on the facial features of parents. The illustrations, however, effectively convey a sense of familial closeness. There is a lot of eye contact between Corey and his parents as well as a lot of physical displays of affection between the child and his parents. Even though Corey's mother travels on business, there still is a sense through the pictures and the text that both parents are concerned about him. The closeness between Corey and his father is evident in the illustrations and in the patient, sensitive way that Corey's questions are answered.

     While this reviewer has interpreted the book from her own personal situation of a dual income family in which the male spouse manages the children and household duties, the book does not explicitly state or illustrate that the father is a wage-earner. Therefore, the book would be an excellent resource for non-traditional families where the father is the stay-at-home parent. Children who are struggling with the work-related absence of one their parents would also benefit from this comforting work. In general, this book also provides realistic role models for parents who are struggling with the issue of what quality time would look like and sound like. Although the parent is busy with household responsibilities, the child is included in these activities, and his fears and concerns are answered. Significantly, the child is given responsibility for caring for himself. Readers might want to consider reading the story to children dealing with issues of self-esteem and independence.

     In general, I liked this book, although, the angular illustrations gave the characters a rather odd appearance. As young children could be confused about Bangkok being in Thailand, parents and teachers might want to find a globe to help children locate Thailand, thus providing them with a starting point for learning about nations around the world.

Recommended.

Denise Weir is a consultant for Manitoba Culture, Heritage, and Tourism, Public Library Services. Her background includes developing children's programming and school librarianship.

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

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