________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 15 . . . .March 21, 2008


I, Bruno. (Orca Echoes).

Caroline Adderson. Illustrated by Helen Flook.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2007.
53 pp., pbk., $6.95.
ISBN 978-1-55143-501-5.

Subject Headings:
Imagination-Juvenile fiction.
Play-Juvenile fiction.

Kindergarten-grade 3 / Ages 5-8.

Review by Jonine Bergen.

**** /4



Sir Bruno waved his sword while they walked. He stabbed the air. If only a knight would come around the corner! Sir Bruno was so busy he almost didn't notice the dragon waiting by the curb. Dad didn't notice because his phone rang.

The dragon was bright red, except for the blue top of its head. It had two bulgy eyes and a round snout. One square tooth stuck out. Sir Bruno was sorry it only came up to his waist. But a knight couldn't be too picky. There weren't a lot of dragons around. This one seemed to be sleeping. Sir Bruno attacked. "One two, one two!" he shouted, slashing with the sword. The dragon was strong. It seemed to be made of iron. Disaster! Sir Bruno's sword broke in half! Luckily, the dragon was already dead.


I, Bruno, by Caroline Adderson, is a series of delightful short vignettes from the life of an imaginative little boy, named Bruno, who is very happy to be himself.

     Between the covers of the book, Bruno, among other things, eats a rainbow of food, vanquishes the dragon-fire hydrant and becomes Queen. Helen Flook's black and white cartoon illustrations emphasize the humour and Bruno's very individual style.

      Adderson, a newcomer to children's writing, successfully creates a lovably unique character reminiscent of the favourite characters from the "Little Bear" and "Frog and Toad" series for younger readers. Each chapter, like those in the Minarik and Lobel stories, contains a complete episode within seven to nine pages for the reader to enjoy. Also, each story focuses on two or three characters - Bruno and a friend or his parents. This focus increases the reader's connection with Bruno while simplifying the language. The setting is only described if necessary to the plot.

internal art      Helen Flook's quirky black and white cartoon illustrations provide excellent backdrops for the tales. Each chapter contains three half or full page illustrations that relate directly to the text and provide appropriate cues for the emerging reader.

      My co-reader, a reluctant eight-year-old reader, really liked Bruno. His favourite story was "Bruno Eats the Rainbow." Bruno, who won't eat anything green, decides to eat all the colours of the rainbow instead. When his mother makes only green foods for his next meal, Bruno decides to eat black. By Bruno’s closing his eyes, the food that makes it to his mouth (some misses) doesn't taste green at all. My 14-year-old-daughter, who also enjoyed the book, used it while babysitting. It was a hit with the very active two-year-old.

      I, Bruno, part of the "Orca Echoes" series, is an excellent read-aloud, particularly with kindergarten and grade one children. Bruno is fresh and stereotype-free, refreshing in early reading materials. I look forward to reading about what Bruno will discover next.

Highly Recommended.

Jonine Bergen is a library technician at Westdale School in Winnipeg, MB.

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

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