________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 4 . . . . October 10, 2008


Martin Bridge: The Sky’s The Limit!

Jessica Scott Kerrin. Illustrated by Joseph Kelly.          
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2008.
110 pp., pbk. & hc., $6.95 (pbk.), $16.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55453-159-2 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55453-158-5 (hc.).

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Jonine Bergen.

*** /4


When Martin woke up, his first thought was that his prize should arrive at the post office today! Just to be certain, he bounced out of bed and padded over to the Zip Rideout calendar on his wall.

Zip Rideout, Space Cadet, was Martin's favourite cartoon superhero. And a bowl of Zip Rideout Space Flakes was Martin's all-time favourite breakfast.

So when the Zip Rideout Trivia Contest was announced, Martin was thrilled. He eagerly ate box after box of the sugary star and comet shapes until he had collected a complete set of cards. Then he mailed them off to the cereal company.

Jessica Scott Kerrin continues her successful narrative of Martin Bridge's adventures in Martin Bridge: The Sky’s The Limit! Like Pinocchio, another irrepressible little boy who likes to have fun, makes mistakes and learns important life lessons, Martin Bridge quickly becomes a "real boy" to the reader.

   Martin Bridge: The Sky’s The Limit! consists of two instalments in the life of Martin Bridge and his buddies. In "Earplugs," Martin's cousin, Fletcher, is coming for a visit. Martin is really excited because his mom has said they have a lot in common. Unfortunately, when Fletcher arrives, he is nothing like Martin imagined. Instead of liking Zip Rideout comics, tree forts, and Zip Rideout Space Flakes, Fletcher likes to read "Big thick books. And not one of them had words like `explosion,' `slime' or `dinosaur' in the title." Fletcher is also afraid of heights and eats plain yogurt with bananas for breakfast. Running parallel to Martin's disillusionment with Fletcher is the story of Martin's friend Alex’s skirmishing with his brother Curtis. By the end of the tale, both Alex and Martin have learned lessons about friendship.

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   The second episode, "Wormhole," explores the feelings of anticipation and disappointment. Martin is sure that the Zip Rideout's Space Race Game for which he has been waiting forever - five weeks to be exact - to arrive is going to come today. So when his mom tells him she has a secret surprise for him after school, he automatically assumes it is his game. He spends all day thinking about it and inviting his friends over to play it. His bubble of anticipation grows all day until he arrives home to find out that his mom's surprise was supposed to be a promotion that she was expecting to get at work. Unfortunately, they are both disappointed - until his mom brings home a package she picked up at the post office on her way home. How Martin deals with his disappointment, and his mother's, is particularly believable.

   Interspersed on each page of text are Joseph Kelly's humorous charcoal drawings. These drawings invite the reluctant and early reader into a new world of chapter books. Kelly's visual cues assist the young reader to decode the text while providing another layer of meaning and enjoyment to
the story.

Martin Bridge: The Sky’s The Limit! is an excellent bridge for the early reader moving to chapter books.


Jonine Bergen works at Westdale Library in Winnipeg, MB.

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

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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
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