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Ted Staunton
Toronto, Kids Can Press, 1992. 104pp, paper $4.95
ISBN 1-55074089-X. (Maggie and Cyril series).

Grades 4-6 / Ages 9-11

Reviewed by Alison Mews

Volume 20 Number 6
1992 November

This book is the fifth of Staunton's novels about Maggie and Cyril. As in the other books, Cyril describes in a humorous and somewhat martyred voice how Maggie's unorthodox attempts to extricate him from difficulties usually have the opposite effect.

While the haunted house project is a fiasco, the fund-raiser to break the world record for constructing a house of cards captures the imagination of the whole school. Staunton builds his story as carefully as the children build their house of cards, laying each plot development on top of the previous one to make a precarious structure that will have the children holding their breath until the last scene.

Despite the fast pace and breezy style, Staunton creates an affinity between the reader and the two characters. Self-professed Greenapple Street Genius Maggie has to cope with her own problems in this story and can only spare limited help to love-struck Cyril in pursuing his heart's desire. How they each manage to resolve their individual predicaments, while assisting each other, makes for enjoyable light reading.

Children who have read the other Maggie and Cyril books will love this latest one, but it would also stand on its own for readers newly introduced to the characters.

Alison Mews is Coordinator, Centre for Instructional Services, Faculty of Education, Memorial University of Newfoundland, in St. John's, Newfoundland
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