________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 9 . . . . October 31, 2014


Dunces Rock.

Kate Jaimet.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2014.
215 pp., pbk., pdf & epub, $9.95 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-1-4598-0585-9 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4598-0586-6 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4598-0587-3 (epub).

Grades 3-6 / Ages 8 11.

Review by Sophia Hunter.

** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.


The police officer pulled a notepad out of his breast pocket, and Magnolia gave him her Dadís cell number. A few minutes later, she and the boys were sitting in the warm backseat of the police car while the officer stood guard outside the drop box, waiting for her parents and the Salvation Army people to arrive.

An uncomfortable silence filled the back of the police car. Magnolia didnít feel like looking at the boys, let alone talking to them. Didnít they know the difference between a cunning plan and an idiotic shenanigan?



Dunces Anonymous is a club. It is a club that many young readers will relate to; it is for children who are not living up to their parentsí expectations. The protagonist, Wilmot, is a member, along with his circle of friends from school. Dunces Rock is a sequel to Jaimetís earlier novel, Dunces Anonymous.

     In this story, Wilmot receives an electric guitar from a neighbour who is looking to share his love of music by donating an electric guitar to anyone who might want to try it. Wilmot wants the guitar, but knows how his conservative, academic father will view the endeavour.

     The rest of the novel revolves around Wilmotís rather formulaic attempts to hide the guitar from his father, recover it once his father has found and banished it, and then convince his father of its worth as a hobby. Wilmotís friends have a bottomless well of patience for Wilmotís whining about his predicament, and they bend over backwards trying to help him fulfill his musical ambition.

     Most readers, adult or youth, will have less patience for Wilmot. He is immensely unlikable. An escapist novel needs to have a more sympathetic protagonist. There is nothing wrong with the rest of the novel, but it is completely predictable and is built around a series of contrived scenes that are right out of an after school special. Sophisticated readers will be put off by the transparent storyline. Reluctant readers will find nothing to entice them. The audience is most likely limited to children who like music, but have no parental support, and fans of the first book.

Recommended with Reservations.

Sophia Hunter is a teacher librarian at Crofton House Junior School in Vancouver, BC.

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

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