________________ CM . . . . Volume XII Number 19 . . . . May 26, 2006


Toby Shoots for Infinity (First Novels, No. 55).

Jean Lemieux. Illustrated by Sophie Casson. Translated by Sarah Cummins.
Halifax, NS: Formac, 2005.
61 pp., pbk. & cl., $5.95 (pbk.), $14.95 (cl.).
ISBN 0-88780-684-8 (pbk.), ISBN 0-88780-685-6 (cl.).

Subject Headings:
Fear-Juvenile fiction.
Astronomy-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 3-5 / Ages 8-10.

Review by Barb Taylor.

** /4


“Well, what's on the other side of the universe?” she asked sweetly.

“Nothing,” Dad sighed. “There is no other side.”

All at once, I felt a cramp in my stomach. Was I going to get sick?


Jean Lemieux tells the story of Toby, who, with a group of his school friends, sets out to tackle the perplexing theory of infinity.

     The story is one of the “First Novels” series. The age recommendations are not included, but, judging by the subject being tackled, I would guess that this book would appeal to students in grades 3-5. The text is in large print, and the vocabulary is easy to read although scientific terms, such as infinity, and mention of the famous scientist Copernicus suggest this book is for students with an interest in astronomy and mathematics.

     The story begins when Toby's father, an analyst by day and Copernicus impersonator at night, takes Toby and a few school friends out to observe the evening skies. While observing the moon, Toby and his friends begin asking Professor Copernicus questions about what is on the other side of the moon…the galaxy…. the universe? The last question brings the answer that the universe doesn't end. Toby is left perplexed, angst ridden and frightened by the answer.

     Left in this state of angst, Toby has trouble sleeping. He waits until his mother, an emergency room nurse whose patients come in “in bits and pieces,” arrives home. Unfortunately, she is unable to answer Toby's questions about infinity. Toby then takes matters into his own hands and forms an ‘infinity” club with his friends. Their task is to count until they reach the end – whatever that is. The rest of the book deals with the troubles they encounter while they count on - continuing with their regular schoolwork, bullies and unsympathetic teachers.

     All in all, the book is simple to read and flows well. It bogs down a bit in the middle with all the counting. I can't see this book flying off bookshelves, but it would be a great crossover curricular story to include in a math/reading program.

     The illustrations are simple drawings in black and white that focus on the dialogue and thoughts of the main character.


Barb Taylor, of Calgary, AB, is a pre-Kindergarten teacher and a freelance writer.

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

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