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Robin Lewis.
Toronto, ON: Annick Press, 1985.
unpaged, paper, $4.95.
ISBN 0-920303-39-0. cloth, $12.95. ISBN 0-920303-38-2. CIP.

Kindergarten-grade 2 / Ages 5-7

Reviewed by Christine Buchanan.

Volume 14 Number 1
1986 January

A little girl about seven years old recalls the summers spent with her eccentric "Aunt Armadillo," who always has two of her animal namesakes either near her or on her. The pair live a freewheeling existence in the aunt's house, which is crammed with books and many fascinating objects, reading as much and as late as they want to. They venture out for camping trips in the garden, long car journeys, and visits to the zoo and the park, where Aunt Armadillo reads to the bears and the people respectively. Finally, Aunt Armadillo is called to take charge of a "collection of very old and very special children's books." This sounds as if it might be a rare book library, rather like the Osborne Collection. However, Aunt Armadillo turns it into a very swinging public library, with all the books piled on the floor and real monkeys playing in real banana trees. The book triumphantly concludes: "That's why Aunt Armadillo's library is a very special place".

The illustrations (also by the author) are bright, pleasant, and well integrated with the text, and certainly some of the situations will bring a smile. However, the story as a whole seems slight, and the stream of eccentricities rather calculated. Children about four to seven years old might briefly enjoy this book, but they are unlikely to return to it again and again with excitement and affection.

Christine Buchanan, Toronto, ON.
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