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


Kelly’s Cabin. (Orca Echoes).

Linda Smith. Illustrated by Zorica Krasulja.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2006.
62 pp., pbk., $6.95.
ISBN 1-55143-408-3.

Subject Headings:
Children's playhouses-Juvenile fiction.
Imagination-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Deborah Mervold & Kessa Gerein.

*** /4


Kelly drew lines and circles. Then she drew circles and lines. She did it over and over again.

She dropped her pencil and threw the paper on the floor. She didn’t want to draw.

She didn’t want to do anything. She was bored.

“I wish we hadn’t moved,” she said out loud. If they still lived in Calgary, she could ask Amanda to come over, or Star or Rachel. They could play hide-and-seek or pretend to be spies. Rachel might bring her dog, Dandy. Dandy loved to play tug-of-war with a rag. He would run after sticks for hours.

But they’d come to Grande Prairie three weeks ago, at the end of June. Here, there was only Melissa to play with. And Melissa went to her dad’s on the weekend.

Kelly looked out her bedroom window. Sean was riding by on his bike. Sean lived on the next block, like Melissa. He’d been in Melissa’s class last year. Mum said Kelly should talk to him, but Kelly wouldn’t. Melissa said he was mean.


Kelly learns that it is not easy making friends in a new location. When a new refrigerator is delivered to their house, she asks to make the cardboard box into a cabin on the vacant lot next door. From her cabin, she can see the street, but the cabin is hidden by the trees and no one can see her. Her dad helps her put pegs in the box so that it is securely attached to the ground and plastic under it so that it will not get wet.

internal art

     When Melissa returns, she just sees dirt and weeds and is not impressed with the cabin. One day, a small black and white dog is sniffing at the cabin. Winnie is Sean’s dog, but Kelly is sure that Winnie will be her friend because Winnie likes the cabin. When Sean takes Winnie home, Kelly is sad. Sean would like to play with Kelly, but Kelly only hears what Melissa has said about Sean so she doesn’t ask him to the cabin. One night, it starts to rain, and Kelly locks Winnie in the cabin so that she wouldn’t get wet and also so that she will be there for Kelly in the morning. When Kelly wakes up in the night, she worries that Winnie will be afraid of the dark. On her way next door, she sees a light and meets Sean and his mom who are out looking for Winnie. Sean is crying because he has lost Winnie. Kelly apologizes for locking Winnie in the cabin, and Kelly invites Sean to play together with Winnie in the cabin.

     The story is simple and yet believable. Many children have to move and face the difficulty of making new friends. The print is large and easy to read, making this a good choice for the intended readers. Language is effective and appropriate with realistic dialogue organized into short chapters. Content is interesting yet easy to read and follow. There are several full page black and white drawings by Zorica Krasulja which add to the enjoyment of the text. There are several references to other Canadian children’s books in the text. We would recommend this book to other students, male and female, particularly those who like realistic fiction and dog stories. It would be a good oral reading selection for Grade 1 while older students could easily handle it themselves. It would be a good choice for public, school and personal libraries.


Deborah Mervold is a retired teacher-librarian, educator and Resource Based Learning Consultant in Shellbrook, SK. Kessa Gerein is a Grade 3 student in Saskatoon, SK.


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

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ISSN 1201-9364
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