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THE BALLAD OF MR. TUBS.

Houde, Pierre.

Translated by Alan Brown. Toronto, McClelland and Stewart, 1988. 22pp, cloth. $14.95. ISBN 0-7710-4225-6. CIP

Grades 2 to 4/Ages 7 to 9
Reviewed by Janice Foster

Volume 17 Number 3
1989 May


The Ballad of Mr. Tubs is Pierre Houde's first children's book. The story was originally published in French under the title La ballade de Monsieur Bedon (Editions du raton laveur. 1985). The translation is by Alan Brown, one of the foremost translators of French-Canadian literature.

Rotund Mr. Tubs is a great musician and a dreamer. He plays the tuba, writes melodies and gives music lessons to children. His great day-dream is to fly high in the sky around the world and listen to the music the Earth makes. He explains to his young pupils about the Earth's music made by ocean waves, rain, hall and stormsóIf only he could float up to the heavens to hear the Earth's orchestra. Eventually, Mr. Tubs comes up with an idea and with the help of his young musicians his dream finally comes true.

This is a simple story that deals with music, a theme not often found in children's books. The highlight of the book Is the author's delightful illustrations. The rich, bright colours add to the light-hearted ness of the story. The animated style of the character drawings will appeal to the young reader, and the drawings of the musical instruments coincide with the text to explain terms such as bassoon and oboe. Music teachers and children being introduced to the world of music and the orchestra will enjoy this simple musical fantasy.


Janice Foster, Winnipeg. Man.
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