________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number . . . .September 25, 2015



Maureen Fergus. Illustrated by Dušan Petricic.
Toronto, ON: Tundra Books, 2015.
40 pp., hardcover & ebook, $19.99 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-77049-613-2 (hc.), ISBN 978-1-77049-615-6 (ebook).

Kindergarten-grade 4 / Ages 5-9.

Review by Reesa Cohen.

*** /4


If somebody had passed the potatoes
the first time Bill asked for them,
the wonderful, terrible thing
that happened never would have happened.
But nobody did.

“Please pass the potatoes,” repeated Bill,
a little louder this time.
Nobody even looked at him.


It was just like Bill wasn’t even there! He’s being ignored by a busy family, each one either missing his request, or misinterpreting it, because of the distractions of technology, like phones, tablets, referred to as “whatchamacalits” and “thingamajiggys” and books, and TV, all during family dinner time. But Bill does find out from his super intelligent brother the scientific term for potatoes, and his sister does a great job of juggling them, instead of passing them. The story centers on parents, busy working people, who don’t seem to pay attention to their middle child. In frustration, of being overlooked by his distracted family, Bill really does become invisible, only missed by his siblings when it is time to do chores. His invisibility is represented by a simple coloured, blank square. His worried mother seeks help from a doctor whose diagnosis is that “Turning invisible means a person can’t be seen” and suggests the use of coloured markers. His schoolmates enjoy laughter at this predicament, captured in a hilarious full-page spread. Finally, Bill hatches a successful plan that makes his family really miss him.

     Fergus gets to the heart of matter with a story that should resonate with readers and their parents. Known for her unique storylines that capture the attention of young readers, the author sends a clear message that technology has a habit of ruling our lives. In the process, she uncovers interesting and common family dynamics from the perspective of a young child. Dušan Petricic’s cartoon-like illustrations are rendered in pen and ink and coloured in photo shop. All the drawings are contained within coloured squares of various sizes, (until the last page) which might give the impression of containment, but the artwork breaks through the boundaries in effective ways.


Reesa Cohen is a retired Instructor of Children’s Literature and Information Literacy at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB.

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 - September 25, 2015.) | Back Issues | Search | CM Archive | Profiles Archive

Updated: October 17, 2014 (hsd)