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E. J. Goodden.

Toronto, Three Trees Press, c1983.
unpaged, paper, $12.95 (paper-bound boards), $5.95 (paper).
ISBN 0-88823-075-3 (paper-bound boards), 0-88823-074-5 (paper).

Grades 2-5.
Reviewed by Sue Easun.

Volume 12 Number 3
1984 May

Most of us, I'm sure, associate stained glass windows with Sunday services, where they easily gave our sorely tried piety something to stare at as we indulged in forbidden flights of fancy. Assuredly Goodden is a kindred spirit in this, for he has readily seen the potential of his craft not only to tell a particular story but also to inspire the retelling of many more. His windows, used here as illustrations, are charming and do invite one to hold them up to the light. (No, it doesn't work.) Those great minds who have been telling us that children like bold bright colours and simple shapes can also quit using that as a sales pitch for their own neatly packaged products; for here we have bold bright colours and simple shapes and a tradition that has been used to reach illiterate souls for many centuries.

The accompanying allegory is a lengthy one, and although its message rings true, it is unfortunate indeed that the hands of a man who can wield glass to lead so skilfully are not so dextrous when dealing with words. Gert, the son of parents who have made themselves useful in life, has a gift for finding glory in the things about him; and upon leaving home, where neither he nor his gift is understood, falls in with a woman who possesses the secret of how to put glory to use. Of course, their eventual greed becomes too great (for glory is best used for pleasure, not profit) and at the height of their ambition they are turned into bees. Goodden obviously treasures this story, told to him by his grandfather, but keeps it so close to his heart that he is unwilling to surrender the delights of rambling personal narrative to the discipline of print. Perhaps next time (and I fervently hope there will be a next time for this man), he can be persuaded to collaborate with authors who have regretfully had to restrict their delusions of artistic grandeur to the margins of rough drafts.

Very neatly appended is a short commentary on how these windows were designed that offers anyone disappointed in the story a chance to appreciate the exacting talent that lies behind it and an unspoken invitation to see if we ourselves could do the job any better. All in all, I have a feeling few of us could. Recommended .

Sue Easun, Toronto, ON.
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