________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 3 . . . . September 18, 2015


Fifteen Dollars and Thirty-Five Cents: A Story About Choices. (I'm A Great Little Kid).

Kathryn Cole. Illustrated by Qin Leng.
Toronto, ON: Second Story Press, 2015.
24 pp., hardcover, $15.95.
ISBN 978-1-927583-82-1.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Ellen Heaney.

** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.


There is no disguising that a book is intended to teach a lesson when it comes labelled "I'm a Great Little Kid Series" from an organization called BOOST: Child Abuse Prevention and Intervention. Second Story Press is in the process of updating this series outlining a variety of true-to-life scenarios which, along with a Facilitator's Guide, "has been used for more than 13 years by educators, caregivers, and programs across Canada and the United States".

      Canadian publishing veteran Kathryn Cole has written a straightforward moral tale about some money lost and found. Joseph finds the titular $15.35 in the school playground and thinks it's his lucky day. When friend Devon suggests that someone might be looking for the money, Joseph relies on the old saw, "Finders keepers, losers weepers", to justify pocketing it. Later, classmate Lin is noticed crying because she has lost her savings with which she intended to buy a birthday gift for her mother, and Devon finds himself in a difficult position. Should he let it go (and benefit by getting a promised $5 himself), or tattle on his buddy?

      Fortunately, wise Ms. Crosby, the classroom teacher, helps out. When Devon explains his friend's dilemma, she says:

"You have made a good choice by telling me. Maybe you can help your friend make a good choice too." Ms. Crosby got up and went to her desk. She picked up a white envelope and handed it to Devon.

"This might be helpful. Tell your friend it's a hint."

Devon wasn't sure what the hint was, but he took the envelope.

As he was leaving, Ms. Crosby said, "By the way, Devon, I'm going for lunch now too, so if you need anything, I won't be back for a while."

      Lin returns from lunch to find a white envelope with her lost money inside, and everyone, especially Joseph, is shown to be satisfied with the outcome.

      Featuring a multiethnic cast of characters, illustrator Qin Leng has created workmanlike colour drawings with minimal detail. The most engaging feature of the art is the realistic facial expressions she captures. Whether it is sorrow, worry or anger, the reader can see the emotion plainly.

      This little book would be useful for classroom discussion or in a therapeutic setting, but it is not a core item for general library collections.

Recommended with Reservations.

Ellen Heaney is a retired children's librarian living in Coquitlam, BC.

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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