________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 7 . . . . November 24, 2006


Jasper Explores the Wild West. (Jasper’s Great Canadian Adventure, Book 3).

Doug Chapman & Shannon Chapman.
Calgary, AB: Explorers Are We Inc. (Distributed by Fitzhenry & Whiteside), 2005.
32 pp., cloth, $19.95.
ISBN 0-9733908-2-4.

Preschool-grade 1 / Ages 2-6.

Review by Ruth McMahon.

** /4


Jasper shook his head. He considered asking the farm animals if they had seen Little Girl, but thought twice. After all he hadn't had much luck with Critters and directions in the past. And this goat seemed kind of hungry.

Not only did these Critters not speak Cuddle Buddy, they had no regard for personal boundaries.


For those who are familiar with this series (this is the third in the series, and the other two previously were reviewed in CM) you will know that Jasper is a stuffed toy bear who has been misplaced by his "Little Girl" while in Jasper, Alberta. He meets up with Tundra, a stuffed toy dog, who aids in his search. In this part of the story while they are at the rodeo, they meet up with Hanna, a stuffed toy fox, with whom Jasper is smitten. Jasper and Tundra decide to help Hanna find her "Home" and her "Little Girl". 

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     The stuffies, as they are refered to in our home, are very cute, and our girls loved seeing them in the photographs. Most of the silliness of the story was appreciated by my listeners, and they loved the joke: "What do you call a pig who's lost his voice?. DISGRUNTLED!" But some of the humor was reserved for the adults: for example: the excerpt and Tundra's comments upon meeting Hanna: "'Whoa!  Who is that FOX!?'" The sweetness serves to sustain the reader over some of the vague moments in the plot.

     We noticed a couple spots where the text and photos seemed mismatched. For example, the text: "'What's that smell?!' Jasper asked. 'It's not me, so what could it be?' 'Pancakes,' replied Tundra.",  is paired with a picture of the stuffed animals 'walking' behind three horses. Before I got a chance to read the word “pancake,” my listeners had shouted out “horse bums.”

     The photography is beautiful, and it does a great job of selling the splendor of Southern and Central Alberta. However, as an immigrant to Southern Alberta and an ardent ambassador of the same, I was disappointed there was not more information on the photographs and their location. My young readers also wanted to know more information about the locales of the photographs.

     The publisher points out Chapters/Indigo has rated this book as appropriate for ages 6 to 8. My test trials indicated a younger audience, ages 2 to 6, making it of interest to an even wider audience.

     In this reviewer’s opinion, this title scores high on the 'cuteness' scale, but, as a book that is important to public library collections, it rates a lower score although teachers may find it useful in their work.

Recommended with reservations.

Ruth McMahon is a professional children's librarian, storyteller, co-chair of the Rocky Mountain Children's Choice Book Award, and the mother of two young children.


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

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