________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 20 . . . . May 29, 2009

cover Angels Inc.

Bruce McBay. Illustrated by Kim La Fave. Vancouver, BC: Tradewind Books, 2008.
71 pp., pbk., $7.95.
ISBN 978-1-896580-30-2.

Subject Headings:
Clubs-Juvenile fiction.
Thieves-Juvenile fiction.
Helping behaviour-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Suzanne Pierson.

*** /4


“Mrs. Creech, did you just give a man and a woman permission to clean out your garage?” asked Wendy.

“Yes, they’re from a very good organization, helping seniors like myself to keep things tidy.”

“We think they’re thieves. We heard them say that there were valuable things in the garage,” said Wendy.

“What?” said Mrs. Creech. “Now you listen here, Wendy Appleton! Who do you think you are, accusing respectable people of being crooks?”

“But they are,” said Zach. “We heard them.”

“Eavesdropping, is that what you were doing?” asked Mrs. Creech.

“No, no, not on purpose,” said Zach. “We’re just trying to help,” Wendy explained.

“We’re Angels Inc. That’s what we do. We take care of people’s dogs, we paint sheds, we……”

Full of hilarious misadventures, this beginner mystery chapter book finds our heroes, Wendy and Zach, filling their weekends trying (with a remarkable lack of success) to help their neighbours. It turns out Mrs. Creech didn’t want to cross the street. The Beales didn’t want their shed painted rainbow-colours. And Mrs. Haddock definitely didn’t want her poodle Pooky to run away and get covered in mud.

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     But when Wendy and Zach show up to mow Mrs. Creech’s front lawn, they discover the same shady characters that they had observed in the neighbourhood earlier are there, and Wendy and Zach are sure that the strangers are going to rob Mrs. Creech.

     In the end, Angels Inc. saves the day, and Mrs. Creech’s valuable antiques are recovered from the scam artists who have been targeting seniors. Bruce McBay has set the humorous adventure in Vancouver. Children from Vancouver, as well as anyone who has ever visited, will be familiar with the location names scattered throughout the story –– Granville Island, Dunbar Community Centre, Point Grey. Students who aren’t familiar with Vancouver will easily follow the story of two friends out to help their neighbours.

     Kim La Fave’s playful black and white illustrations add just the right amount of detail to support the story line for early readers.

     On Saturday evening the two Angels watched TV and ate popcorn at Wendy’s place. Zach was lying on the floor with his arm resting on a cushion. Wendy’s legs were sprawled all over the couch.

     Both Wendy and Zach look like exactly the kind of friends who could get up to a lot of adventures and still be ready for more.

     An added bonus is that the book is printed on 100% ancient-forest friendly paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

     I have only one concern with this story. Wendy and Zach are junk foodaholics. They are always snacking. At one point, Zach has trouble talking because he has a triple-decker Death-by-Chocolate Avalanche crammed into his mouth. Maybe the readers will relate to this, but it would be nice if Wendy and Zach had a bit more balanced diet.

Highly Recommended.

Suzanne Pierson is a retired teacher-librarian, currently instructing librarianship courses at Queen’s University in Kingston, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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