Robert Munsch. Illustrated by Michael Martchenko.
Volume 13 Number 4
I first read Mortimer ¹ in the Annikin edition. I liked it then, and I like it now, because it is fun to tell. It is the simple story of a little boy who is in bed but not yet ready for sleep, to the chagrin of all within earshot of his oft-repeated refrain: "Clang, clang, rattle-bing-bang / Gonna make my noise all day."The revised text has been pared down from the original. It's probably written now the way a lot of storytellers have refined their telling of it. For example, the most noticeable change is the addition of the phrase "Thump thump thump thump thump" as people climb up or down the stairs to Mortimer's bedroom. The phrase is spaced to resemble stairs, and the words move up or down according to the destination of the climber. The line "MORTIMER, BE QUIET," a warning shouted by everyone from his mother to the police officers, is in block capitals. A full-page colourful illustration balances each page of text. Martchenko achieves such expressions on the faces he draws, that the pictures tend to speak for themselves. Because the illustrations are so appealing and because the text contains Mortimer's refrain plus lots of opportunity for storytelling dramatics, this book is an excellent read-aloud choice. It takes children about two seconds to memorize Mortimer's song, and they will chant it joyfully during the telling of the tale. Also, every child identifies with the n-bed-but-not-yet-sleepy scenario. The ending is satisfying for adults and children alike.
Patricia Fry, Toronto, ON.
¹ Reviewed vol. Xl/4 July 1983, p. 174.
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