________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 4 . . . . October 12, 2007


Catching Forever. (Street Lights).

Laurel Dee Gugler.
Toronto, ON: James Lorimer, 2007.
142 pp., pbk., $8.95.
ISBN 978-1-55028-954-1.

Subject Heading:
Mennonites-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 4-6 / Ages 9-11.

Review by Georgie Perigny.

**** /4


I’m afraid this week will be just as bad as that week at camp. I have to go to a new school tomorrow – Prairie View Elementary. My old school, Lone Tree, closed down. And to make it a thousand times worse, Judy goes to Prairie View. If I was spunky I wouldn’t even mind. If she picked on me, maybe I’d just bash her over the head like Anne did to Gilbert Blythe. Ha! Wouldn’t she be surprised. ‘Course, Mennonites aren’t supposed to do stuff like that. We’re supposed to be peaceful every single minute and never ever fight. Why was I born Mennonite? One of those why-of-things questions. I wonder about the why of things when I am with Grandmother Oak. Why was I born here on a small American farm where there is plenty to eat, and some other kid was born in Africa and is starving? Why was I born a girl and not a boy? Or why was I born at all? And why am I living now, in 1955, instead of a hundred years ago, or a hundred years from now? I wonder stuff like that. I wonder if other kids think about such things.


Inspired by memories of growing up Mennonite, Laurel Dee Guglar has written a delightful book about a young girl longing to fit in with her peers. Guglar not only describes the insecurities of a young girl seeking her own identity, but she also allows the reader the perspective of someone who supports her own religious beliefs in a society that has different customs and may not understand or identify with Mennonite traditions.

     Catching Forever is a story about Rose, a young Mennonite girl who yearns to be spunky and brave. After being teased and taunted by Judy, a snooty girl she met at camp, Rose discovers Judy will now be in her class. To make matters worse, Judy appears to be the class bully and constantly mocks the Mennonite students from Lone Tree school. This behaviour infuriates Rose, and she is torn about what she should do. If she doesn’t do anything, Judy will make her life miserable. If she gives Judy a taste of her own medicine, Rose feels she is not a good Mennonite or person as they believe in a peaceful solution. Rose longs to be someone who is adventurous, brave, spunky and fun, but she is torn between who she is and who she wants to become.

     As she steps out of her comfort zone and learns to play baseball, Rose finds herself into a whole new game in which she is forced to stand up to the plate and face the curve balls in life. Will Rose’s determination and new-found confidence allow her to strike Judy out in her own game, or will they learn to appreciate each other’s individuality?

     Catching Forever is an easy read that grabs the reader’s interest and allows the reader to appreciate the uniqueness of others. It is a book that many young readers would be able to relate to and would be a great resource when teaching young people about the importance of acceptance.

Highly Recommended.

Georgie Perigny is a teacher at River Valley School in Sundre, AB.

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

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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.