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Lois Simmie. Illustrated by Anne Simmie.
Saskatoon, SK: Western Producer Prairie Books, 1986.
72pp., paper, $8.95.
ISBN 0-88833-185-1. CIP.

Kindergarten-grade 6 / Ages 5-11

Reviewed by Joanne Robertson.

Volume 15 Number 2
1987 March

An Armadillo Is Not a Pillow, Lois Simmie's second collection of poetry for children, is a commendable companion to her first collection, Auntie's Knitting a Baby ¹. Simmie has also published two short story collections and one adult novel.

The author returns to some of the subjects found in her first collection of poetry. Mary McBickle makes another appearance, as do the problems of knitting. She also continues the format of a poem sequence interwoven throughout the book. In the eleven "Look" poems, a child is warning his mother about the monsters that he sees everywhere: "Mommy, look! What's that in the tub?" and "Mommy, look! Here in my bed," and even. "Mommy? look! And please don't scream, / Something's eating my ice cream."

Monsters romp abundantly and exuberantly in this collection. Some normal everyday creatures also assume grim monster-like attributes. There is a frog who will "zap it / and whap it / and handicap it" and a spider who will "kill it and tear it / Limb from limb." Even Dad is not safe from the ravenous plant, Fred, who is "starting to push his leafy / Fingers around the door ...". Many children will recognize and appreciate the humour in these poems, but others may be alarmed.

An Armadillo Is Not a Pillow and Auntie's Knitting a Baby are similar in many respects. The unpretentious black-and-white drawings of Anne Simmie, the author's daughter, enhance the poems in both collections. Written from a child's point of view, these brief poems reveal the author's wry sense of humour. Lois Simmie fans will not be able to pass this book by.

Joanne Robertson, Dauphin, MB.

¹ Reviewed vol. XIII/5 September 1985, p. 223.

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