CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 21 . . . . June 8, 2007
I thoroughly enjoyed Evan Solomon’s first children’s book, Bigbeard’s Hook, and anticipated reading the next book in his Nathaniel McDaniel series, The Sabre-toothed Tiger.
The book gets off to an exciting start as Nathaniel visits his grandfather’s magical attic and is swept back to prehistoric times when his pet cat, “Tut,” curls up on a wooly mammoth pelt.
Nathaniel and Tut land in a cave complete with etched paintings of bison and elk being hunted. Then the Neanderthals come home and decide that Nate would make a tasty supper.
Just as Nate is roasting on a spit, his “confrere,” Tut, comes to the rescue.
The story doesn’t end here, but, after pages of lengthy Seuss-like rhyming, it really should. The story line would appeal to younger readers (ages 6-7) but the sometimes awkward rhyming and lengthy narrative is more suitable for an older child.
The story continues as Nate and Tut run into a naked Mammoth who spots Nate wearing his pelt. The mammoth, incredibly, speaks English.
He tells Nate of his run-in with a Sabre-tooth tiger which caused his present condition. Then the tiger enters the story, and Nate takes on the creature, toreador-style.
Bill Slavin’s illustrations are bold and exciting. Younger children should enjoy reading the “pictures” as the details given tell stories themselves. The story, itself, does not hold up. The first anecdote involving Nate’s capture is amusing and might excite a younger reader, but the second half of the book is another story, and, with its naked English–speaking mammoth, it’s a little too silly.
Recommended with reservations.
Barb Taylor, of Calgary, AB, is a pre-kindergarten teacher and a freelance writer.
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