________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 17. . . .January 9, 2015


Winter Break Wipeout.

Gilles Tibo. Illustrated by Bruno St-Aubin. Translated by Petra Johannson.
Toronto, ON: Scholastic, 2014.
30 pp., pbk., $7.99.
ISBN 978-1-4431-3688-4.

Grades 1-3 / Ages 6-8.

Review by Myra Junyk.

*** /4



Nicholas had been eating, playing and sleeping with his backpack, long johns and snowboard boots for three days!

He flew into his parents’ room. They were still buried under the covers.

“Come on! Wake up!” said Nicholas. “We’re leaving on vacation today!”

“Yes, Nicholas,” mumbled his father. “Just five more minutes…”


Nicholas can’t wait for winter break! The day has finally dawned, but his parents and his sister continue to sleep as young Nicholas bangs on pots, hoping that their winter adventure will begin right now! When his father lists what they have to do before they leave, Nicholas runs out of the house to start shovelling the snow, rounding up the cat, finding the snow equipment and shopping for food. Finally, after packing the car, Nicholas is truly exhausted while his family is rested and ready to have a great winter break!

internal art     Nicholas is an irrepressible character with a vast amount of energy. He is very enthusiastic about going on a winter vacation with his family. He just can’t wait for it to begin! “He knew what he had to do if he wanted to leave today!” Nicholas does not hesitate to do the work that needs to be done, but at the end of all his tasks, he is “completely exhausted.” Young readers who have eagerly looked forward to a family vacation will be able to relate to his eagerness. However, adults might question how a young boy could accomplish all these tasks on his own.

     Gilles Tibo’s narration is fast-moving, amusing and exciting. His sentences are short, and the vocabulary is accessible for young readers who are making the transition to independent reading. Although the story is 30 pages long with some conversation, it is full of repetition and visual clues which will help beginning readers. Tibo has written about this keen protagonist in several other picture books, including more recently, Soccer Crazy, The Big Game, and A Very Hockey Christmas. He has won both the Governor General’s Literary Award and the Mr. Christie’s Book Award.

     The illustrations by Bruno St-Aubin are colourful, bright and lively. From the very first page, Nicholas is portrayed as an ever-moving and enthusiastic young man. His room may be messy, but, as he looks out into the dark, snowy night, his shining smile and his vibrant clothing immediately show readers his high energy level. Throughout the picture book, there is a great deal of visual information to enhance the text through facial expressions and the activities of the ever-present cat and mouse.

     All in all, Winter Break Wipeout is an amusing and interesting picture book for young readers about a much loved character. It could definitely be used as a read-aloud while more independent readers could read the book on their own. Discussion topics could include: family relationships, responsibility, chores, travel, and winter vacations. Winter Break Wipeout would also be a great gift for children going on a winter break with their families!


Myra Junyk, a literacy advocate and author, lives in Toronto, ON.

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

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

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