________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 3 . . . . September 29, 2006


Mr. Tubs Is Lost! (Blue Bananas).

Bel Mooney. Illustrated by Margaret Chamberlain.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2006.
48 pp., pbk. & cl., $7.16 (pbk.), $18.36 (RLB).
ISBN 0-7787-0904-3 (pbk.), ISBN 0-7787-0858-6 (RLB).

Subject Heading:
Readers-Teddy bears.

Kindergarten-grade 2 / Ages 5-7.

Review by Sandi Harrison.

*** /4


The birds sang, the leaves rustled, and Mr. Tubs felt very happy. He sat under a tree and watched his family play baseball. “You can keep score, Mr. Tubs” Kitty called—and so he did.

At last they stopped to eat their food. They had sandwiches, apples, potato chips, cupcakes, and chocolate cookies, with apple juice and water to drink. Everything was perfect until…

So begins the lively adventures of Mr. Tubs the teddy bear in this easy-reader written by Bel Mooney (author of the “Kitty” collection of easy-readers) and illustrated by experienced children's illustrator Margaret Chamberlain. Kitty, Mr. Tubs's owner, is constantly losing Mr. Tubs in her messy room or around her house, and, finally, on the day of the picnic, behind a bush. Mr. Tubs then has to spend the end of the day and much of the night scaring off a wide variety of animals (he has no bodily movement, only the power of thought). When Kitty's father finally returns to the woods and finds Mr. Tubs, Kitty tells Mr. Tubs he should not wander off like that again—although Mr. Tubs knows what really happened.

     This story is well-pitched for its target audience. The language is simple, but there is vocabulary enough to keep an advancing reader satisfied. There are additional speech bubbles that add a nice touch to each page, offering words from Kitty, Daniel, Mom or Dad, or thoughts from Mr. Tubs himself. Chamberlain's illustrations make the story colourful, lively, and exciting to read—not to mention, look at.

     While children will like Mr. Tubs as a character, and hopefully enjoy the light irony of the ending, it is somewhat discouraging that Kitty never learns that she is responsible for Mr. Tubs's disappearance. One distraction in the book is the amount of wildlife that appears while Mr. Tubs is alone in the forest. He encounters (and mentally interacts with): a rabbit, a fox, a deer, an owl, a snake, a vole, two weasels, imaginary bears, and a badger. The experience of reading the descriptions is a bit exhausting, even for an adult reader.

     Mr. Tubs is Lost! succeeds in offering children an adventurous—but mostly close to home—tale of a teddy bear that loves his owner more than anything in the world. That is something that any kindergarten-aged beginning reader will appreciate and understand. This story, most of all, is one that any child will feel proud of having read themselves.


Sandi Harrison is currently completing her Master of Arts in Children's Literature 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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