MEGAN AND THE WEATHER WITCH: TWO STORIES
Volume 21 Number 4
This full-colour picture-book is Alien Morgan's twentieth book for children.
There are actually two stories contained in Megan and the Weather Witch. The first one is simply called "The Weather Witch." It introduces us to Megan as she is selling lemonade in front of her house one hot July day. A weather witch appears from a ladder in the sky, makes friends with Megan, and arranges to meet her later that night for a ride in her weather balloon. Together, with the help of two bats who only speak in opposites, they round up the clouds and make it rain over Toronto.
The second story, called "The Bats and the Statue Parade," takes place in Toronto as well. The action occurs after midnight on Victoria Day. Megan and the weather witch wake up each of the statues along University Ave. The bats round up garden gnomes and pink flamingos. Dinosaurs from the Royal Ontario Museum also join in, and they all form a huge parade, which lasts until dawn.
Each of the stories includes a few bars of music to a short song, one which Megan sings to summon the witch at night, the other to waken the statues for the parade.
At first glance, these stories have appeal; however, much about the book falls short. The concept for each story is intriguing and would spark a child's imagination, but the delivery overburdens the simple plots. The addition of the bats and their talking in opposites could be humorous but is also confusing when added to the already lengthy narrative.
My main criticism of these stories lies with the content not matching the reading level. A child who can fluently read words such as "grimly," "lugubrious," "contentedly" and "calliope" would find the stories themselves somewhat young, and a child to whom these stories are read would quickly tire of the rapid dialogue, wordiness, and length of the narrative.
B. Henley is Head Librarian at Brantford Collegiate Institute in Brantford, Ontario.
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