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Deirdre Kessler. Illustrated by Brenda Jones.
Charlottetown, PEI: Ragweed Press, 1987.
36pp., paper, $5.95.
ISBN 0-920-30473-7. CIP.

Subject Headings:
Children-Prince Edward Island-Juvenile fiction.
Lobsters-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 1-3 / Ages 6-8

Reviewed by Nancy Tully.

Volume 16 Number 1
1988 January

Deirdre Kessler, a resident of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, has written a picture book for young children called Lobster in My Pocket. She has previously published the novels The Private Adventures of Brupp ¹ and Brupp on the Other Side ² as well as A Child's Anne ³, a popular retelling for very young children of Lucy Maud Montgomery's classic, Anne of Green Gables.

Set in an east-coast fishing village, Lobster in My Pocket tells the story of Lee, a lonely young girl who discovers Lucky, a talking lobster, in one of the crates on the wharf. Lee sets Lucky free and Lucky in return helps save her from drowning in a wild storm after she falls off the wharf.

The east-coast setting is realistically portrayed, but the characters are not as well developed. The parents are merely flat background figures, and although it is implied that Lee has a special relationship with her grandmother, their relationship seems to lack warmth and understanding.

The magic of the encounter with the talking lobster is undercut by the prosaic, repetitive language and the various themes running through the story. The loneliness of the child, Lee's friendship with her grandmother, the magic of Neptune and the talking lobster, commercial lobster fishing, and the disappearance and return of Lee's cat Nosey are themes which are part of the narrative; however, the narrative doesn't flow very easily from one to the other.

The cover illustration is colourful and attractive, and the gray, white and blue line drawings by Montr&eACUTE;al artist Brenda Jones accurately reflect an east-coast setting. The print is large and readable; however, there is an uneven balance between text and illustration. The placement of the text on the page is distracting in some instances.

Lobster in My Pocket is suitable for a primary school aged audience. It is a good story to begin discussions with children on friendship, loneliness, unusual pets, fishing, and life in an east-coast community. We need more Canadian picture books for children with an east-coast setting!

Nancy Tully, Second Street Junior Middle School, Etobicoke, ON.

¹ Reviewed vol. XII/4 July 1984, p.167.
² Reviewed vol. XIV/4 July 1986, p.166.
³ Reviewed vol. XII/l January 1984, p.14.

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