________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 14. . . .March 6, 2009


Jazlyn J's Day of Danger.

Renná Bruce. Illustrated by Robin Oakes.
Guelph, ON: Jazlyn J and Company Inc.(www.jazlynj.com), 2002.
24 pp., pbk., $6.95.
ISBN 978-1-894933-76-6.

Subject Headings:
House cleaning-Environmental aspects-Juvenile literature.
Cleaning compounds-Toxicology-Juvenile literature.
Household supplies-Toxicology-Juvenile literature.

Preschool-grade 1 / Ages 4-6.

Review by John Dryden.

** /4


Jazlyn J's Computer Confusion.

Renná Bruce. Illustrated by Robin Oakes.
Guelph, ON: Jazlyn J and Company Inc.(www.jazlynj.com), 2002.
32 pp., pbk., $6.95.
ISBN 978-1-894933-79-7.

Preschool-grade 1 / Ages 4-6.

Review by John Dryden.

** /4



After breakfast, Jazlyn and her Mom finished cleaning the house together. Her Mom showed her all the right and wrong ways to wash a floor, clean a tub and scrub a toilet (which Jazlyn thought was a yucky job, but smiled through it anyway.) The gloves were big and yellow, and Jazlyn felt safe with her Mom beside her. She also told Jazlyn NEVER to use them without her, and Jazlyn promised she wouldn't. (From Jazlyn J's Day of Danger.)

"Information that you no longer want to keep goes to a Recycle Bin," Mr. Billings continued. The whole class turned to look at the recycling bins that held their juice cans and the paper. Then they looked quizzically at Mrs. Beggs, who was trying not to laugh. (From
Jazlyn J's C omputer Confusion.)


internal artIn Jazlyn J's Day of Danger, Jazlyn wants to help clean the house, and she does so when her parents are still in bed. Fortunately, she breaks something and wakes them up. Her parents then explain the dangers of household chemicals and show her the warning labels. They then clean the house together in a fun and safe manner, averting any possible catastrophe. Jazlyn J's Day of Danger will provide parents and teachers a nice read-aloud to young children about how to ensure their safety around the house and school as safety labels are examined by Jazlyn and her mom. The book ends with a very pleasant feature of the family's sharing their favourite moments of the day.

     Jazlyn and her classmates receive a new classroom computer, and a special guest explains the different parts of a computer to them in Jazlyn J's Computer Confusion. The parts explained in the book are: mouse, screen, keyboard, speakers, printer, CD tray, bytes, recycle bin, the web, and favourites. Where Jazlyn J's Day of Danger was excellent in its description and detail of household chemicals, Jazlyn J's Computer Confusion is not as effective in explaining the parts of a computer. This book is more entertaining than informative and plays off on the double meanings of many of the words used in technology. It would be a nice story to read if a class were to go to the computer lab for a hands-on experience, but it is not practically useful as a teaching tool. The computer pictured in the book may not at all like the ones located in labs or classrooms. Jazlyn J's Computer Confusion is entertaining, and I am sure kids would get a chuckle at the double meanings presented in the book. The book ends (as with all the books in the series) with Jazlyn's family sharing their favourite moments of the day.

internal art      According to the Jazlyn J website, the Jazlyn J series is "educational, entertaining, and inspirational. Focusing on topics such as self-esteem, jealousy, and more! Kids discover how looking at their favourite part of the day can make each day a brighter one! A terrific exercise in positive thinking!" The books are presented in an appealing format that tries to represent the genuine curiosity and helpfulness of Jazlyn. The books reviewed here are educational, and they will entertain a younger age group.

      Renná Bruce and Robin Oakes should take no small amount of praise for creating and publishing the Jazlyn J series. The books are very positive and cheery in their approach to what many consider bland topics of literature. Neither the writing nor the illustrations stand out as fantastic, but the books do have a bright, crisp, modern feel and may be a welcome replacement to some of the older safety and esteem related books. Perhaps due to the chosen layout and format of the book with the illustrations taking up the top five/sixths of each page, and centered text, the creators were forced to sacrifice some grammatical conventions such as a new paragraph when a new speaker speaks (as in Jazlyn J's Computer Confusion). Young readers will not worry about this, and it does not take away from the stories.


John Dryden teaches in the Cowichan Valley, BC.

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

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