________________ CM . . . . Volume VI Number 7 . . . . November 26, 1999

cover Lord of the Fries and Other Stories.

Tim Wynne-Jones.
Toronto, ON: Groundwood books/Douglas and McIntyre Ltd., 1999.
208 pp., pbk., $9.95.
ISBN 0-88899-274-2.

Subject Headings:
Teenagers-Juvenile fiction.
Children's stories, Canadian (English).

Grades 6 - 10 / Ages 11 - 15.
Review by Helen Norrie.

**** /4

In this new book of short stories, Tim Wynne-Jones again demonstrates his amazing versatility. While the book is advertised for "ages 9-12" and the cover is consistent with that age group, this collection can be enjoyed by anyone from the middle school years to adult.
     The title story, "Lord of the Fries," is both humorous and touching: the story of two children who discover a secret about one of their town characters, decide to sell the story to a magazine and then realize what the consequences of their actions would be at the last minute. Wynne-Jones' touch with character and dialogue has never been truer; the contrast between the crusty old seller of french fries and the inexperienced children is particularly effective.
     The collection contains five other new stories which range from the light-hearted sleuthing of the title story to the more serious undertones of "Ick," in which a 14-year-old schoolgirl faces unwanted attention from a new teacher. The author again demonstrates his ability to "get inside" the minds of his young characters and to show that their feelings and opinions are equally as strong and sometimes more justified than those of the adults around them. He is particularly adept at describing characters who are not in the mainstream, who may be shy, handicapped, imaginative, or simply different.
     One of the strongest stories in the book is "The Chinese Babies,"about a van carrying three French-Canadian families, including recently adopted Chinese infants. When the occupants of the van are marooned overnight in a farmhouse on the Ontario side of the river, they find a bigoted old Welsh grandfather who, at first, makes them far from welcome. However, in the course of the evening, through a subtle chess game and a blending of languages, they discover that they have much in common after all. This is a contemporary and effective story about Quebec-Canada relations.
     Lord of the Fries is an easy and enjoyable read and can be enjoyed by readers of all ages.

Highly recommended.

Helen Norrie is the children's book columnist at the Winnipeg Free Press and an instructor in children's literature at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba.

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

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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364