________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 7 . . . . November 23, 2007


Animal Tales: Favourite Stories from Chirp Magazine.

Toronto, ON: Owlkids, 2007.
64 pp., hardcover, $19.95.
ISBN 978-2-89579-174-4.

Subject Headings:
Animals-Juvenile fiction.
Children’s stories.
Short stories, Canadian (English).

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 3-7.

Review by Ellen Heaney.

**** /4

OWL magazine has been delighting Canadian children for over 30 years. More recently, this successful publisher started Chickadee magazine for ages 6 to 9, and, with the addition of Chirp, children aged 3 to 6 have a great magazine to call their own.

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     Stories, jokes and puzzles which originally appeared in these magazines have been compiled into separate themed volumes such as Travel with Chirp: Comics, Jokes, Games, and The Anti-Boredom Book, edited by by Marilyn Baillie, for older boys and girls  The volume being reviewed here contains 14 stories with animals as main characters. They have been written mainly by Canadian writers, many well-known ones such as Margriet Ruurs, Marie-Louise Gay and MaryAnn Kovalski. Although it is inevitable that such a story collection will include a few klunkers, most of the writing is of high quality.

     Marthe Jocelyn is represented by a charming story she has illustrated herself called "Little Koi,” which is about a boy who is worried that the fish in his pond will not be able to survive the winter.

One day, a leaf drifted down from the cherry tree and sailed across the pond. It was the first leaf of many, showing that the change of season was near.

“Oh, Little Koi,” sighed Matsuko. “What will become of you, now that winter is coming? What happens when the surface of the pond turns to ice?”

Little Koi kept nibbling, seeming not to worry. His fins danced as if blown by an underwater breeze."

     Some of the contributions are stories in rhyme, like Shawn Benjamin's "Tracy the Tractor," with picture by Holli Conger. "Letter from Grandma's" by Gary Barwin, illustrated by Renee Mansfield, is told in rebus form, always a draw for new readers.

     Illustrations are all reproduced in full colour, and the pages of the book are bright and open enough to be viewed by a group. A large, clear typeface makes the stories accessible to early readers. The attractive 8" square trim, which echoes the magazine itself, is just right for smaller hands to hold. 

     Animal Tales is a book which will easily find a place in any school or public library. It also represents great value for purchase for a home library or as a gift.

Highly Recommended.

Ellen Heaney is Head of Children's Services at the New Westminster Public Library in New Westminster, BC.

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

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