CM . . .
. Volume XXII Number 15. . . .December 11, 2015
Sodbury Season tells the story of the power of love and friendship. The premise is promising. Nili, a newcomer to Sodbury, meets some new friends. Soon, all five of them are caught in a conspiracy to destroy their community. Unfortunately, the story gets bogged down in details that are at times too sweet and at other times too contrived.
The five protagonists, Nili Naftali, Rocket Rose, Vera Swete, Lottie Pop and Carol Lyng are garden cherubs with magical powers. The cherubs accidentally discover that beavers are being forced by a gang of gremlins to flood Sodbury. They find themselves prisoners of The Rotten Riders, the gremlin gang.
Eventually, newcomer Nili uses her magic to save the day.
The message is good, but unfortunately the writing is not strong enough to overcome the weaknesses of the storyline. Sentence structure is sometimes awkward, and the reading level doesn't match the content.
Pleaded with whom?
“Endangerment”, meaning risk, is a correct use of the word, but it sounds unnecessarily cumbersome, like a poor translation.
How do you scrunch together with intimidation?
The greatest strength of the writing is the use of humour, but some of it may go over the heads of the intended audience. For example, the gang rides in on swine. First you have to know that swine is another name for hogs. Second, you need to know that some motorcycles are referred to as hogs.
Adult readers familiar with Hazel McCallion, the longtime mayor of Mississauga, ON, may find the humour in this reference, but it is like an inside joke. Most people won't get it.
Perhaps Sodbury Season might work better as a read-aloud. The adults could laugh at some of the humour, and the mismatch between the reading level and the content wouldn't be an issue. Unfortunately, neither the illustrations nor the writing are strong enough to overcome the weaknesses and make me recommend this book.
Dr. Suzanne Pierson is a retired teacher-librarian, currently instructing Librarianship courses at Queen’s University in Kingston, ON.
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