________________ CM . . . . Volume I Number IV . . . . July 7, 1995

Catchy Titles from Oz

Reg Sylvester

Teenaged heroes overcome the threats of monsters, gang rivalry, drunken brawls, and a desperate man bent on arson
Flash Fiction grabs you, especially if you're the kind of kid who usually ignores books. Consider the titles: The Things and Mall Rats by Martyn Godfrey; Bush Party and Burn It by Lyle Weis.

The publisher is Oz New Media of Edmonton, who commissioned the cover art to a guy with a reputation as the best airbrush van painter in town. Jim Beveridge created a multi-fanged monster dripping with blood for the cover of The Things. When you pick up Mall Rats, you are confronted by a maniacally grinning security cop about to take you by the throat. On Bush Party, a desperate hand reaches out of river water while a plume of black smoke streaks across a gigantic moon, low on the horizon.

This might be one occasion when you can judge the books by their covers. The action continues inside, as the teenaged heros overcome the threats of monsters, gang rivalry, drunken brawls, and a desperate man bent on arson.

In marketing shorthand, these are hi/low/ESL books -- high impact, low vocabulary, suitable for kids who have trouble reading or for students of English as a second language.

The authors are experienced and popular writers of children's literature. Martyn Godfrey has written more than 30 books for children, with titles such as The Great Science Fair Disaster and Wally Stutzgummer, Super Bad Dude, both published by Scholastic Books. He has also been published by Avon Books in New York and by Oxford University Press.

Previous books by Lyle Weis include No Problem, We'll Fix It (General, 1991) and The Mill Under His Skin (Thistledown, 1992).

Flash Fiction is the first sign of life from a new publishing company on Earth. (Oz stationery and business cards locate the company in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Earth.) The president is Randy Morse, former general manager of Hurtig Books and a founder of Reidmore Books.

Without Morse, Reidmore continues to publish books for the educational market.

Oz, meanwhile, looks to exploit continental and worldwide markets for multiple media publishing. Imminent releases include Kate's Story, a combination of Kodak Portfolio photo-CD with a softcover book, and So, This is Canada!, a comic-book history of our country designed with the American school market in mind.

Though the marketing objective is far-reaching, Morse and his crew still look for talent close to home. The authors and artist for Flash Fiction are all from Edmonton, as are the cartoonists Gary Delainey and Gerry Rasmussen, who created the Canadian history book.

Flash Fiction Titles:

Each book, 80 pages, $4.99
Mall Rats
by Martin Godfrey
ISBN 1-896295-00-2

Burn It
by Lyle Weis
ISBN 1-896295-01-0

Bush Party
by Lyle Weis
ISBN 1-896295-03-7

The Things
by Martyn Godfrey
ISBN 1-896295-02-9

Article originally published in Praire Books NOW. ©1995 Reg Silvester.

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

Copyright © 1998 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364