________________ CM . . . . Volume IV Number 2 . . . . September 19, 1997

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Lilly to the Rescue.

Brenda Bellingham. Illustrated by Kathy Kaulbach.
Halifax, NS: Formac, 1997.
64 pp., paper, $5.95.
ISBN 0-88780-386-5.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.
Review by Irene Gordon.

*** /4

Duff the Giant Killer

Budge Wilson. Illustrated by Kim Lafeve.
Halifax, NS: Formac, 1997.
64 pp., paper, $5.95.
ISBN 0-88780-382-2.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.
Review by Irene Gordon.

** /4

Go for It, Carrie

Lesley Choyce. Illustrated by Mark Thurman.
Halifax, NS: Formac, 1997.
64 pp., paper, $5.95.
ISBN 0-88780-392-X.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.
Review by Irene Gordon.

*** /4

These three novels for beginning readers are just a sampling of the 25 or more titles in Formac's "First Novels" series, contemporary Canadian stories about boys and girls encountering and dealing with situations common to elementary school children. The regular mass market paperback size, as opposed to the larger trade format usually used for readers of this age, should especially appeal to the intended readers. This series from Formac seems to be geared to slightly younger readers than Scholastic's "Shooting Star" line.

      In Lilly to the Rescue, Lilly is trying to find a new best friend, but her bossiness and over-protectiveness alienate the two people she most wants to like her.

On Monday morning I called for Minna. Maybe she was too shy to come over on her own. I didn't bother about Kendall.
"I'm not going to school today," Minna said. "I'm sick."
"No you're not," I said. "You're scared." "Being scared makes you sick," Minna said.
That was true." You don't have to be scared of Theresa Green," I said. "I'll walk with you."

The closer we got to school, the slower Minna walked ... Usually I don't hold Pop's hand. I'm too old. But when I do, his hand is big and warm and makes me feel safe.
"Hold my hand," I said to Minna.
She snatched her hand away. "I know I'm small, but I'm not a baby," she yelled.
She was spitting mad like a little cat. (Pages 25-26)

      In Go for it, Carrie, 10-year-old Carrie wants roller blades more than anything, but her family cannot afford to buy her a pair. She discovers some in a pawn shop for $20 and persuades the owner of the shop to give them to her for $10. She finds that learning to roller blade is not as easy as it looks, but finally, with the encouragement of her friend Gregory who has Down's Syndrome, she learns.

      In the humorous and rather improbable Duff the Giant Killer, Duff and his best friend Simon are recovering from the chicken pox. They are not allowed back to school, but they are well enough to get into a lot of trouble. First Duff wakes up everyone in both houses when he decides to phone Simon at 5:20 a.m. Then they decide to act out the play, Jack the Giant Killer, and a neighbour calls the police because she thinks the boys are having a real fight and that Duff has killed Simon.

Highly recommended.

Irene Gordon, who retired at the end of June after spending the last 14 years working as the teacher-librarian at Westdale Junior High School in Winnipeg, Manitoba, presently co-edits the Manitoba School Library Association Journal.

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

Copyright © 1997 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364