CM . . .
. Volume XXI Number 17. . . .January 9, 2015
Kirby Katz, 11, has a hero. It is William T. Williamson business tycoon, billionaire and author of How to Make Something from Nothing. Kirby, too, has aspirations to be a millionaire and racks his brain to find a project that will, as his hero suggests, be a solution to a problem as well as a good business venture. He comes up with the idea of constructing a hotel made of snow in the school playground to which he can charge admission even if it’s only a snack or a trading card! Despite Kirby’s group of trusty helpers, many unforeseen obstacles arise, not least in the form of the ‘Bear,’ the school bully, and his gang. They steal Kirby’s snow-blocks, torment his “staff” and steal one after another of his innovations. Kirby is devastated but determined. Finally, when all appears to be against him and his snow hotel is on the verge of destruction, Kirby comes up with a plan to outwit his tormentors.
Kirby’s entrepreneurial aspirations make Frostbite Hotel both original and humorous, with each chapter reflecting a business approach to the challenges that Kirby and crew face such as: “Identify a Problem”, “Choose your Staff Wisely”, “An Obstacle is Just a Challenge” and “Consider a Joint Venture”. Its format and the clear layout will attract young readers as will the readable style and regular series of mishaps. However, while the story flows logically and there is much to engage the reader’s attention, the writing tends to the formulaic and lacks real tension.
Kirby is a sympathetic character. One’s heart goes out to him as he becomes aware that his aspirations must be tempered by reality and his creativity restricted to emergency problem solving. Feisty, courageous little Jeannie, sister of his best friend, also walks to her own tune and stands out as a real character amongst the supporting cast.
Libraries will find Frostbite Hotel a different addition for their collections, and inventive young readers will enjoy the book and might even be inspired to try its precepts in their own business ventures!
Aileen Wortley is a retired librarian from Toronto, ON.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.