________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 16 . . . . December 22, 2017


Morgan the Brave. (Be Brave, Morgan!).

Ted Staunton & Will Staunton. Illustrated by Bill Slavin.
Halifax, NS: Formac, 2017.
93 pp., hardcover, $14.95.
ISBN 978-1-4595-0497-4.

Kindergarten-grade 3 / Ages 5-8.

Review by Christine McCrea.

** /4



Next morning, Mark tells Curtis he can't come to the party because he's going to a basketball game. "Yeah, right," Curtis scoffs. "You're just chicken because of Brain Eater. Mark's a chicken, bwak buck buck!"

Everyone laughs. I give up my plan to tell Curtis I have to go mountain climbing.

I don't like this one bit. Curtis and Aldeen both have me scared of being scared.

Morgan wants to go to Curtis's birthday party like everyone else in his class, but when he learns that Curtis will be showing "'Brain Eater', the scariest movie ever," Morgan isn't so sure he wants to attend.

      Of course, Morgan doesn't want to appear scared. After all, tough girl Aldeen is always making fun of him for being a scaredy cat. He's got to make up some kind of believable excuse.

      When excuses don't work, Morgan decides to prepare for the inevitable by reading scary stories and watching a scary move at home. Then he comes up with a plan to watch the movie with sunglasses and earplugs.

      Children will wonder whether any of Morgan's elaborate plans will help him avoid facing his fear. As the story progresses, it becomes clear that other children have the same fears. Many are hoping to avoid the scary movie but don't know how to do so without losing face with their classmates.

      Peer pressure runs rampant in this early chapter book for the primary school crowd. Children will identify with Morgan's dilemma. Hopefully, they will also take comfort in the idea that their fears are legitimate and that they are not alone in their feelings.

      Morgan the Brave is part of the "Be Brave Morgan" series in which a fearful Morgan tries to navigate the perils of grade three without appearing weak or uncool. The large print and drawings on every two page spread will appeal to early readers.

      Bill Slavin's black and white sketches add an element of humour and silliness to the narrative. His illustrations make the idea of coping with fear somewhat less frightening.

      The illustration and layout are also billed as "dyslexia friendly" (from the publisher), making the book attractive on many levels.


Christine McCrea is a children's librarian at Richmond Public Library in BC.

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