CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 3 . . . . September 29, 2006
Both of these are situations with general application. Even if you have never been to camp, you have undoubtedly had enjoyable experiences overshadowed by the dread of a disaster which may or may not occur. So Martin's managing to have fun in spite of Alex's slime--and managing to get back at him--will strike a chord with any young reader. And it does no harm to be reminded that helping is a good way of learning, whether it's how to make cookies or which type of screw responds to a Philips screwdriver. That parents were once-upon-a-time children and that girls can be mechanics are slightly obvious object lessons, but useful, nevertheless.
I thought these stories were well written, but with the exception of Harry Potter, no grown up can say for sure what will appeal to a young reader; and so I asked my resident experts, ages eight and ten. This being summer vacation, the former was not all that keen on reading or being read to, but admitted that the stories were "pretty good, really" which I take to be high relatively praise. The 10-year-old, on the other hand, said, "Boring! All talk and no action." My conclusion is that a good deal of their appeal is in coping with the challenge of the actual reading, rather than the gripping nature of the tales, and that, I am afraid, is not a strong recommendation.
After a year in England, Mary Thomas is looking forward to returning to a school library 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.