CM . . .
. Volume XII Number 6 . . . . November 10, 2005
What could be worse than being dropped off for a birthday party that happened yesterday? Well, try having your least favourite classmate turn up for your party not only the day after it actually happened, but also, although you have a special outing arranged with your best friends, having your mother insist that you stay and play with her instead. Or how about forgetting your permission slip so that your class goes off to the dinosaur museum and you have to spend the day in your last-year's class where everyone is younger than you except for the dork who was held back and who eats erasers and pencil shavings? Or being the useful guy who opens the window to let out the smell of last week's tuna sandwich just as someone else lets the class parakeet out of her cage?
All three of the stories in Martin Bridge On the Lookout! are based on an initial “it's-not-fair, I-didn't-mean-to situation” that works itself out to a much better than could have been expected conclusion. This is a very satisfactory formula for readers anxious to read real chapter books, but who are not yet quite up to a long continuous narrative. Each chapter is a story in itself, but Martin and his pals are in all of them, lending continuity to the episodes. The situations described are all basically school-centred, and are scenarios with which any child can empathize---especially the forgotten permission slip!---making the book a positive encouragement to reading for the fun of it.
This is not a picture book, but it is well illustrated with black-and-white sketches placed so that there are never two complete pages of dauntingly solid text for the reader. The pictures tend not so much to give clues to help in decoding the text as to be excellent indicators of the mood of the story. Joseph Kelly is to be congratulated on his atmospherics, and Jessica Scott Kerrin on producing a believable and appealing hero placed in recognizably understandable situations. Kids should really enjoy this book.
Mary Thomas is presently on leave from her job in elementary school libraries in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.