CM . . . .
Volume VI Number 7 . . . . November 26, 1999
Lord of the Fries and Other Stories.
Toronto, ON: Groundwood books/Douglas and McIntyre Ltd., 1999.
208 pp., pbk., $9.95.
Children's stories, Canadian (English).
Grades 6 - 10 / Ages 11 - 15.
Review by Helen Norrie.
In this new book of short stories, Tim Wynne-Jones again demonstrates his amazing versatility.
While the book is advertised for "ages 9-12" and the cover is consistent with that age group, this
collection can be enjoyed by anyone from the middle school years to adult.
The title story, "Lord of the Fries," is both humorous and touching: the story of two children who
discover a secret about one of their town characters, decide to sell the story to a magazine and
then realize what the consequences of their actions would be at the last minute. Wynne-Jones'
touch with character and dialogue has never been truer; the contrast between the crusty old seller
of french fries and the inexperienced children is particularly effective.
The collection contains five other new stories which range from the light-hearted sleuthing of the
title story to the more serious undertones of "Ick," in which a 14-year-old schoolgirl faces
unwanted attention from a new teacher. The author again demonstrates his ability to "get inside"
the minds of his young characters and to show that their feelings and opinions are equally as
strong and sometimes more justified than those of the adults around them. He is particularly
adept at describing characters who are not in the mainstream, who may be shy, handicapped,
imaginative, or simply different.
One of the strongest stories in the book is "The Chinese Babies,"about a van carrying three
French-Canadian families, including recently adopted Chinese infants. When the occupants of the
van are marooned overnight in a farmhouse on the Ontario side of the river, they find a
bigoted old Welsh grandfather who, at first, makes them far from welcome. However, in the
course of the evening, through a subtle chess game and a blending of languages, they discover
that they have much in common after all. This is a contemporary and effective story about
Lord of the Fries is an easy and enjoyable read and can be enjoyed by readers of all ages.
Helen Norrie is the children's book columnist at the Winnipeg Free Press and an instructor in
children's literature at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba.
To comment on this title or this review, send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association.
Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice
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