CM . . .
. Volume XII Number 7 . . . .November 25, 2005
Matthew is having difficulty sleeping, and so his friends and teacher offer advice on how best to solve his problem. After trying suggestions and not getting any sleep, Matthew finally gets the help he needs from his sister and her offer of a blanket and a hug.
The Elusive Mr. Zee is a classic example of a self-published title with some good ideas that get lost without enough editing. The narrative is confusing and hard to follow, and the slang and vocabulary seems too old and difficult for the intended audience. Changes from first person narrative to third, as well as from rhyme to text and back again, do nothing to help the narrative thread.
The illustrations could also do with less. Instead of clarifying or adding to the text, the chaotic watercolour and pencil crayon illustrations add to the confusion. Mr. Zee, when he arrives, seems menacing and doesn't bring sleep—is he good or bad? These questions are not resolved by the ending which depicts the Lion and Mouse trapping Mr. Zee in a cage.
I found the song and music to "Mr. Zee" at the end of the book rather catchy and charming, and so perhaps the book has its place. But overall, this book is not worth spending valuable resources on.
Liz Greenaway has worked in bookselling and publishing and now resides in Edmonton, AB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal
use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any
other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.