Volume 18 Number 1
Khalsa wrote and illustrated a number of attractive picture-books in the past few years. A previous publication, I Want a Dog (Tundra Books, 1987), tells about a little girl who wants a dog so badly that she uses a roller-skate for a substitute until her parents can be persuaded that a pet dog would be desirable.Julian is a sort of sequel to that book. The little girl is now grown up, living on a farm with two cats. There is a problem, though, with groundhogs in the garden. A neighbour suggests that a dog would be the solution to the problem and delivers large, ungainly, barking Julian. He chases out the groundhogs, then chases everything else - the cats, the neighbour's cows and cars. One day, after falling into the well, he receives a stern lecture about the havoc he is creating. Gradually, Julian becomes a reformed dog: he rescues the kitten, his behavior becomes more acceptable, and peace reigns again at the farm. The setting is an Ontario farm and the story is told in first person. The story-line is one that many will empathize with - the desire for the dog initially, then the exasperation felt while said dog is being trained. The illustrations are paintings, vibrant with the colour and detail readers have come to associate with Khalsa's books. The farmhouse is furnished with items from the past: kerosene lamps, wood stoves and enamel kettles. The endpapers feature a number of well-behaved dogs standing to attention and, in the corner, one yellow, frantic bundle of dog-energy. Fans of Khalsa's books will enjoy this book. They will also be saddened to know that the author / illustrator died several months ago. Her enjoyment of life and her sense of humour are evident in this and her other stories. Recommenended.
Edith Strocen, Greenway School, Winnipeg, MB.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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