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Robert Janes.
Toronto, ON: Collins, 1985.
202pp., paperbound boards, $13.95.
ISBN 0-00-222857-2. CIP.

Grades 5-9 / Ages 10-14

Reviewed by Phyllis James.

Volume 14 Number 2
1986 March

Readers are familiar with previous books about these same four children Rolly, Jim, Alice, and Katie. With four children of his own, Robert Janes is well acquainted with the reading children enjoy. Short, apt descriptions, between fast-moving narrative, keep the reader's attention on the exciting events written about in colourful prose. Set around the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto, there is a map of the area in the front for easy reference. Characters are given careful attention, with appearance and habits recounted. Each child's strengths and weaknesses are realistically portrayed. Generally, the children are considerate of the old and unusual person and understanding of other nationalities, while their own parents are kept well in the background.

The daring deeds and gross exaggeration keeps the reader's imagination constantly working. Suspense and surprise burst out on every page until the final revealing of all mysteries. Short sentences, short paragraphs, and a surplus of conversation throughout the story will appeal to young readers. The mood is well sustained and the narrative can be followed by the sharp reader who must pick up the threads of the story from the fast actions of the young people.

The book is well bound and the print is clear. Perhaps the price might surprise some. The cover picture too might be misleading concerning the age of the reader. The story would appeal to young people from ten to fourteen who like excitement, quick changes of scene, references to exotic food, as well as wild adventures of street-wise children. Recommended for intermediate grades.

Phyllis James, Qualicum Beach, BC.
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