________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 16 . . . . April 3, 2009

cover Jazlyn J’s Lesson in Luck.

Renná Bruce. Illustrated by Robin Oakes. Guelph, ON: Jazlyn J and Company Inc.(www.jazlynj.com), 2002.
36 pp., pbk., $6.95.
ISBN 978-1-894933-87-2.

Subject Headings:
Fortune-Juvenile fiction.

Kindergarten-grade 3 / Ages 5-8.

Review by Claire Perrin.

*** /4

This is the 12th book in a series of 16 about Jazlyn J written by Renná Bruce. The intention of the series is to teach important life lessons through the main character. In Jazlyn J’s Lesson in Luck, Jazlyn’s father is on his way to work, anticipating a big meeting and a raise. Jazlyn’s parents begin talking about various good luck charms: his lucky tie, her lucky sweater and other assorted lucky objects. Jazlyn wants to find a good luck charm of her own to help her with her spelling test. She considers a slipper and a teddy bear but finally chooses a special marble. With her good luck charm in her pocket, Jazlyn proceeds to have a great day at school. She attributes everything to her good luck marble, only to discover that it had fallen out of her pocket much earlier. Jazlyn learns from her mother that a positive attitude and great expectations are more likely to bring good results than a lucky object.

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    “I owe it all to my lucky marble!” Jazlyn grinned, reaching into her pocket to bring it out. But nothing was there! Nothing but a small hole! It must have fallen out! Jazlyn began to panic!

     “You mean this marble?” Jazlyn’s mom pulled a marble from the kitchen drawer. “I found it by the front door this morning, you must have dropped it on your way out!”

     Jazlyn bowed her head…confused. All day long, she had been so lucky, and she didn’t even have the marble with her!

     Each book concludes with the family’s sharing their favourite parts of the day, followed by a question for the readers to discuss. In this case: Do you have a good luck charm? It seems that this particular question is in opposition to the purpose of the book. This is perhaps one of the shortcomings of self-published books. In spite of the good intentions of the author, the Jazlyn J series seems somewhat lacking in the depth of language, dialogue and situations that are used. In addition, stereotypical family roles and conversations add to an old-fashioned, unnatural feeling when reading the books.

Recommended with reservations.

Claire Perrin is a full time teacher-librarian with the Toronto District School Board.

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

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