________________ CM . . . . Volume XII Number 14 . . . . March 17, 2006


It’s Your Room: A Decorating Guide for Real Kids.

Janice Weaver & Frieda Wishinsky. Illustrated by Claudia Dávila.
Toronto, ON: Tundra Books, 2006.
64 pp., pbk., $22.99.
ISBN 0-88776-711-7.

Subject Heading:
Interior decoration-Juvenile literature.

Grades 5-9 / Ages 10-14.

Review by Catherine Howett.

**½ /4

Reviewed from prepublication copy.

This is a 'lifestyle advice' book that presents ideas and a plan of attack for 'real kids' who plan to redecorate their bedroom. The information is presented in a project-based manner: clean-up, organizing and culling, budgeting, design fundamentals, lighting issues, accessorizing, and staying organized.

     Unfortunately, most of the content and breezy tone of the work seems culled from adult decorating books, magazines and television programs. Subsequently, the material seems mismatched to the 10-14-year-old target audience. I am not sure that children in this age group "infuse space with the sweet aroma of lavender," "rely on accessories to tell the world who we are," or "burnish brass figurines."

     This is not as strong nor as interesting a work as Weaver's From Head to Toe or Building America, which are both good, comprehensive books in terms of content, audience match, and presentation. Here, the presentation is overly busy, with text pages interspersed with full page drawings and an overabundance of web-style side bars, images and text boxes. Some of these features have interesting content (such as I Wish I'd Known, Quick Tip, Bright Ideas), but the overall impression is of clutter. The series of Help! letters from 'kids' are implausible. The graphics do not add to the content. Despite the book’s including pictures of boys and some of the letters being signed with male names, it is presented to a female audience. The Acknowledgements page appears to be an advertisement for specific companies.

     It’s Your Room might be useful for an Applied Skills course in middle school; it is well indexed and has some useful information in it. However, the budgeting information presented is minimal, and other content is readily accessible elsewhere. Because of the magazine-style tone and content, it might appeal to older reluctant readers. In a public library setting, it might appeal to parents who have taken on a decoration project with a young teenager.

Recommended with reservations.

Catherine Howett is currently completing her Masters of Library Science degree at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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