________________ CM . . . . Volume VIII Number 18 . . . . May 10, 2002

cover Edward the "Crazy Man."

Marie Day.
Toronto, ON: Annick Press, 2002.
32 pp., pbk. & cl., $7.95 (pbk.), $18.95 (cl.).
ISBN 1-55037-720-5 (pbk.), ISBN 1-55037-721-3 (cl.).

Subject Heading:
Schizophrenia-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 1-3 / Ages 6-8.

Review by Catherine Hoyt.

*** /4

excerpt: image

The very next morning, when Charlie took the shortcut through a lane, he suddenly came face to face with a man piling junk into a battered baby carriage. Charlie jumped a mile and so did the stranger. The man was wearing a fantastic costume made from an old curtain decorated with green plastic and shiny bits of silver foil. Charlie marveled at the magical way it was put together.

As Charlie stood staring, the man spun his carriage around and rattled off in a great hurry.

Walking to school one morning, Charlie sees a "crazy man" dressed in a wild costume pushing a baby carriage full of junk. Charlie begins to notice the man in all sorts of places, and he is always dressed in an unusual getup made of trash. Charlie wants to help the man, and so he leaves him a pile of interesting things for costumes. The next day on the way to school, Charlie gets into a fight with a bully, and the "crazy man" saves him from being hit by a car and then disappears. When Charlie grows up, he becomes a famous costume designer and often wonders about that unusual man. Their paths cross again, and Charlie's offer to help this man results in Charlie's finding out that Edward has a disease called Schizophrenia. Once Edward is on the proper medication and is released from the hospital, he comes to work at Charlie's costume design company. Although Edward still has some trouble fitting in, he saves the day again when a famous rock star needs help with an emergency outrageous costume for his concert. The rock star loves Edward's costume creation, and soon Edward is dreaming up more fantastic new designs.

     This book is about more than homelessness and mental illness; it is also about the difference a friend can make. Author/illustrator Marie Day's story is very readable. Children will want to know what happens to these characters. The illustrations are a little "crazy" too, rendered in a mixed media including pencil, markers and pencil crayons.

     This is an excellent book for starting a discussion with children about homelessness and mental illness. It is now becoming more acceptable and necessary to discuss these social problems with children. Therefore, there is an increasing demand for children's books that deal with these topics. The author's personal note at the back of the book allows the reader a glimpse into why the author wrote this story. Edward the "Crazy Man" is a recommended purchase for public libraries and classroom collections.


As the result of an exciting move, Catherine Hoyt is now the Reference Librarian at the Nunavut Legislative Library in Iqaluit, Nunavut. However, she enjoys volunteering at the local public library in the newest capital in Canada.

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