________________ CM . . . . Volume VIII Number 7 . . . . November 30, 2001

cover Priscilla and Rosy.

Sharon Jennings. Illustrated by Linda Hendry.
Markham, ON: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2001.
32 pp., cloth, $18.95.
ISBN 1-55041-676-6.

Subject Headings:
Rats-Juvenile fiction.
Best friends-Juvenile fiction.

Preschool-grade 3 / Ages 4-8.

Review by Val Nielsen.

***1/2 /4

Priscilla and Rosy are two rodent pals who live across the alley from one another. Each Monday they take a break from their busy life of stealing scraps of food and scaring people. One Sunday evening, Priscilla promises Rosy to visit her first thing in the morning to work on a new puzzle. Alas, the best laid plans of these rats go agley when Priscilla receives an invitation to go on a boat trip with her friend, Rudolph. She accepts joyfully and runs outside to tell everyone her news. When her neighbour, Cuthbert, reminds her of the plans she made with Rosy, Priscilla brushes him off:


"Oh, Pooh," said Priscilla. "I can do a puzzle with her friend any old time."

"Some friend you are," snorted Cuthbert.

"I'll phone Rosy tomorrow and tell her I'm sick," said Priscilla.

"That's a fib," replied Cuthbert.

"Then I'll tell her I forgot I was already busy."

"Priscilla Rat, you are not nice!" declared Cuthbert.

     Priscilla sticks out her tongue and stomps home, caught between what she wants to do and what she should do. Before the satisfying conclusion of this little moral tale, there are several unexpected twists. Priscilla and her friends (who look more like mice than rats) are endearing creatures with all the foibles of humans. The world they inhabit is depicted with wonderfully detailed paintings by Linda Hendry, an experienced illustrator of picture books who will be remembered for her work in Jocelyn and the Ballerina and Jennifer Jones Won't Leave Me Alone.

     In Priscilla and Rosy, Sharon Jennings has written a perfect little morality tale for five to seven year-olds, an age group often beset with problems concerning loyalty to friends. Priscilla's point-of-view is convincingly rendered in Jennings' text which consists mostly of conversation.

     Stories about mice have always been great favourites with the kindergarten and primary school crowd. The characters in Priscilla and Rosy may be less appealing to adults (who would prefer not to think about the prevalence of these creatures) than they are to children innocent of rat encounters. Nonetheless, the irresistible artistic depictions of Priscilla and Rosy and their rat friends are perfect for the under eights, as are the style and pace of Jennings' text. Elementary school librarians will want to add Priscilla and Rosy to their collection of picture books on the theme of friendship.

Highly Recommended.

Valerie Nielsen is a retired teacher-librarian who lives in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364