________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 15. . . .December 11, 2015


Sodbury Season.

David Miadovnik. Illustrated by Judit Petz.
n.p., CreateSpace, 2014.
34 pp., pbk., $9.13.
ISBN 978-1-5033-1084-1.

Grades 3-4 / Ages 8-9.

Review by Suzanne Pierson.

* /4



Carol, Vera, and Lottie waited fearfully on their magical levee for their friends to return from the other side of the falls. Amid those fateful moments, time seemed to pass unbearable slow. Their senses were ratcheted up so high from agitation that even against the roar of the flood they could hear a leaf flutter to the ground.


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.

It is the love of friends and family that allows us all the ability to surpass any of our limitations. Love is the strongest magic of all.

     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.

The beaver pleaded to let him go...

     Pleaded with whom?

The gremlins wanted to dominate Sodbury and make it the turf of their gang, but the garden cherubs' magic posed a constant endangerment to their plans.

     “Endangerment”, meaning risk, is a correct use of the word, but it sounds unnecessarily cumbersome, like a poor translation.

The cherubs and Braydon scrunched together with intimidation at Mon-Gall's strength.

     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.

The elderly mayor of Sodbury, Hurry-Cane Hazelnut, hobbled up to the podium, carrying a cane and a small box. The mayor was an eccentric character, yet her many years of life granted the hazelnut tree cherub superb wisdom and charisma.

     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.

Not Recommended.

Dr. Suzanne Pierson is a retired teacher-librarian, currently instructing Librarianship courses at Queen’s University in Kingston, 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.

CM Home | Next Review | Table of Contents for This Issue - December 11, 2015 | Back Issues | Search | CM Archive | Profiles Archive

Updated: October 17, 2014 (hsd)