________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 15 . . . . March 16, 2007

cover

George, the Best of All!

Ingrid Lee. Illustrated by Stéphane Denis.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2006.
64 pp., pbk., $6.95.
ISBN 978-1-55143-623-4.

Subject Headings:
Toys-Juvenile fiction.
Voyages and travels-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Saache Heinrich.

** /4

excerpt:

George shot down the street on his green machine. He leaned back and tilted his face to the sun. He stretched out his hand to catch a breeze.

Bam! The bike smacked into a giant crater.

Pop! The front tire burst. Bits of rubber blasted into the air.

George flipped over the back wheels. His goggles snapped. His helmet bounced away. The bike did a wheelie and raced off all by itself.

George sat up. He was lucky. At least he still had his head!

He was a bit dizzy, though. Stars flashed in his eyes. Lights dotted the sky. They blinked and twinkled and razzled and dazzled. Some of them were red. Some of them were green. Some of them were pink and blue.

George knew how to connect the dots of light. He drew lines in his head from one dot to the next. He drew a pot out of stars - a pot bigger than the pothole! And he drew a horse - an astronomical white horse!

He was George the Brave, George the Steadfast, George the Astronomer. He would ride that horse. He would be a star too!

George, the Best of All! is the third and final installment of the adventures of George, a plastic toy who has a most adventurous life away from his owners, Katie and Mackenzie. George, the Best of All! picks up where things let off in the previous story, The True Story of George. Author Ingrid Lee summarizes the events of the previous story in a prologue that helps to remind past readers of these events or to introduce them to new readers. This approach allows the story to work as a stand-alone early chapter book.

     As George zooms out of Katie and Mackenzie’s driveway on his three-wheeled bike at the end of the previous story, he now finds himself in a string of unpredictable events. He crashes the bike into a pothole, meets a nice pickup driver, is taken to the carnival where he rides on the merry-go-round, ends up at the shopping mall and even stops a purse thief. And eventually, through all these adventures, George is reunited with his owners and his other toy friends to live happily ever after!

     The story is again told in third person narrative with chapters rotating between George and someone else. These alternating stories vary between a variety of characters, all of whom come across George or his story in one way or another. This might be somewhat confusing for young readers. However, if they have followed George in his previous adventures, readers will be attuned to this style of writing.

internal art

Stéphane Denis again provides the pencilled illustrations that depict the various predicaments that George gets himself into. Illustrations placed every three or four pages nicely break up the text for young readers.

     This story, however, didn’t read as effortlessly as the previous book. There are two chapters devoted to introducing a brand new character. A hamburger-loving toy maker named Sho follows George’s adventures in the newspaper, and, feeling that George and his plastic friends need a pet, creates and then sells a prototype toy called Belly Kong. If there were another novel planned for this series, perhaps introducing another character here would provide a basis for upcoming adventures, but Lee’s appended biography states that this is the final story about George. However, introducing another character does indicate that George’s circle of friends is ever growing, as does a child’s collection of toys.

     Children might enjoy a story about a missing toy that actually experiences a very exciting life away from his owners. Since missing toys are a reality for kids (and who knows where those things end up!) this early chapter book would work well with an imaginative child.

Recommended with reservations.

Saache Heinrich is a children’s services librarian for the Saskatoon Public Library.

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

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.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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