________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 4 . . . . October 13, 2006


If I Had a Million Onions.

Sheree Fitch. Illustrated by Yayo.
Vancouver, BC: Tradewind Books, 2005.
64 pp., cl., $18.95.
ISBN 1-896580-78-5.

Subject Heading:           
Children’s poetry, Canadian (English).

Kindergarten-grade 4 / Ages 5-9.

Review by Valerie Nielsen.

**** /4


May no cats get in your sandbox

May your Frisbees always spin

May your fridge be filled with oranges

May you love the life you're in.

May your teddy bears be fuzzy

May your rainy days be wet

May your teacher tell you stories

That you never will forget.


Clap hands and sing! Another collection of Sheree Fitch's poetry is available. If I Had a Million Onions features 25 rollicking verses each of which begs to be read aloud. Fitch's ability to inspire adults and children to giggle together at her wonderful blend of nonsense and common sense shines throughout the collection. Her poems are invariably upbeat, often touching on serious themes ("The Children's News Hour" and "Let Us Play") but never sentimental or clichéd.  Fitch's use of repetition, rhyme, rhythm and metaphor is perfectly illustrated in "Do Your Best Under the Circumstances" which begins:   

There is no land of perfect, child

There is no sea of ease

There is no candy apple trail

There's broccoli and peas.

     Fitch's poems are for sharing. They have a freshness of expression and observation that is appealing to readers (and listeners) of all ages. Her playfulness with words ensures that the messages in her verses are subtle, never didactic. Fitch's writing has been a favourite with children since her book of nonsense poetry, Toes in My Nose, was published almost two decades ago. Sleeping Dragons All Around (1989) and Monkeys in the Kitchen (1992) both were award-winning books, and, in 2000, Fitch won the prestigious Vicky Metcalf Award for a Body of Work.

     Yayo is a Montreal artist who specializes in cartoons and humorous illustrations for children. He has received several awards for his work, including the Mr. Christie Book Award (best French book for children under age seven) in 1995 for Au Lit, princesse Emilie! His simple, pastel drawings in If I Had a Million Onions capture the comic spirit of Fitch's poems perfectly. 

     Elementary school librarians will not want to miss If I Had a Million Onions. Lucky are the children whose parents and teachers read poetry to them, and lucky are we all that Sheree Fitch has written more poems for us to enjoy together.

Highly Recommended.

A retired teacher-librarian, Valerie Nielsen lives in Winnipeg, MB.


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

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