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Martyn Godfrey
Richmond Hill (Ont.), Scholastic Canada, 1992. 122pp, paper, $3.95
ISBN 0-590-44081-0. (Apple Paperbacks). CIP

Grades 4-6 / Ages 9-11

Reviewed by Jennifer Johnston

Volume 20 Number 6
1992 November

Seventh-grade student Marcie Wilder expects the worst when her father, principal of Fifth Street School, announces a forthcoming and first annual science fair. She does not, however, expect that problems will arise almost immediately. Soon Marcie faces the challenge of working with Eric, the class "underachiever," and also of trying to restore relations with he best friend, Alison. To complicate matters, she finds a mysterious prescription for her father hidden at home; this discovery leads to extra anxieties. Although Marcie addresses these many problems with maturity, the science fair itself surpasses her wildest expectations as a fiasco.

Martyn Godfrey is an experienced and popular author for children and young adults, with a long list of titles to his credit. However, The Great Science Fair Disaster does not match the quality of previous books. Marcie is a strong character but she stands alone. She is surrounded by excessively light players who allow Godfrey to touch on learning disabilities, divorce, friendship and family. On the other hand, the descriptions of the science fair disasters are overdone. The humour is strained and too obvious. Although the material is topical and the main character likeable, the book falls short of being a success.

Marcie has problems aplenty with school and friends as well as family, but her concerns are too many and too lightly handled to add up to a solid story. Not recommended.

Jennifer Johnston works part time as a children's librarian in Ottawa, Ontario
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