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Edited by Alice Van Wart.

Toronto. Coach House Press. 1987. 107pp, paper. $12.95. ISBN 0-88910-354-2. CIP

Grades 9 and up
Reviewed by Jo Anna Burns Patton

Volume 16 Number 5
1988 September

Van Wart has selected representative works from Smart's writings—poems, satires, a play, stories and illustrations —completed when Smart was a teenager. The book begins with a preface written by the editor explaining the genesis of the book. The book then follows with an introduction written by Betty Smart, dated September 21, 1929.

Although I enjoyed most of the writings, I did find many of the early ones depressing. Perhaps the sombre tone is the result of Smart's being an invalid. (When Smart was eleven years old, she became ill with what was suspected to be a leaky heart valve, and she had to spend a year at home, six months of that time in bed.) I found the later writings imaginative. I did find it difficult to determine the appropriate reading level for this book because, although Smart was only twelve when she began writing these pieces, I found many of the works difficult to understand. An interesting highlight, though, is the inclusion of some of Smart's original handwritten text and drawings.

Van Wart, herself a published poet, has also edited In. the Meantime: A Collection of Poetry and Prose by Elizabeth Smart (Deneau, 1984) and Necessary Secrets (Deneau. 1986), Smarts' journals from 1933 to 1941.

Juvenilia would be a recommended purchase for secondary school libraries and public libraries developing a collection of contemporary Canadian women writers.

Jo Anna Burns Patton, E.C.S. School for Girls, Montreal, Que.
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