CM Archive
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Jaensson, Hakan and Arne Norlin.

Illustrated by Gunna Grahs. Toronto, Annick Press, c1984. unpaged, paperbound boards, $8.95, ISBN 0-920303-064. CIP

All ages
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Volume 13 Number 5
1985 September

From soothers to blankets, nearly everyone has experienced a favourite security source in their childhood. Charlie's Pillow, translated from the Swedish Nusse-kudden, relates the life story of Charlie and his obsession with a pillow. The author humorously traces the various stages of Charlie's dependency on his pillow from infancy, through school, in the army, and right up to his marriage. Despite expected difficulties, both text and humorous cartoon drawings illustrate Charlie's cleverness in resolving his dilemmas in an amusing fashion. However, Charlie is finally faced with an ultimatum: his wife or the pillow. Charlie finds himself unable to lead a normal life without his source of security. The tale ends with Charlie's discovery of a group of people in a similar predicament and a happy reunion with his wife.

Although a familiar topic, after the initial reading, it seems as though the author has taken the subject of security objects to an extreme. However, the second reading shows that the extreme in this case ends up providing the reader with both a humorous story as well as a light-hearted approach to the often worrisome topic of security objects. The book can be read for humour alone or can be read aloud to children of various ages with discussion following.

The recommended age level is difficult to pinpoint in this case. The part of the story where Charlie turns to smoking and drinking when he tries to do without his pillow seems unnecessary as does his wife's leaving him. Therefore, as a result, the appropriateness of this book for children is questionable unless approached as a discussion tool.

Janice Foster, Winnipeg, Man.
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