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Creighton, Helen.

Illustrated by Bill Johnson. Halifax, Nimbus Publishing, c 1986.54pp, paper, $5.95, ISBN 0-920852-58-0. CIP

Grade 2-5
Reviewed by Joan McGrath

Volume 14 Number 4
1986 July

Helen Creighton first earned her lasting reputation as a "Station Aunt" of the air-ways more than half a century ago in Halifax. Through her was passed on to other generations the Mother Goose lore, the storytelling tradition and flavour of another, earlier, in many ways simpler era. The values she embodied were the sturdy ones of the Golden Rule, unchanging in the fickle tide of fashion, as they should and must be.

But with those stout values, some merely social perceptions, also unchanged, have worn less well. Those differences cannot be ignored in stories that feature timid little girls, afraid to be independent, shaking at their own temerity in doing anything alone and unsanctioned by the approval of others; girls who fuss and scream at the noisy passage of a fire engine while the boys sneer at them for being either "awful tomboys or prim" (what other choice was offered?); verse in which toddlers prattle in baby language charming only to their relations; or the self-conscious doing of a good deed that "brought a cripple rest." These attitudes are not in the spirit of the tougher-minded and less socially trammeled world of the eighties. There is in this collection of story and verse an old world echo that will speak to those who remember a sweet voice of the past; but it will not find a ready audience in the blue jean generation.

Joan McGrath, Toronto Board of Education, Toronto, Ont.
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