CM . . .
. Volume XV Number 18. . . .May 1, 2009
Jazlyn J's Key is another addition to the Jazlyn J alphabet themed books that are targeted for young children between the ages of 4 and 8 and which are intended to explore topics relevant to this age group. This story follows Jazlyn as she spends a day discovering the wide variety and uses of keys. In the process, she longs to have a key of her own. After Mr. Tibbs, the school principal, uses his key to open the school for Jazlyn and then her teacher, Mrs. Beggs, uses her key to open the craft cabinet, Jazlyn decides to try to make her own key. She discovers that a key must have a specific use. "Jazlyn wanted to make her very own key and went to work. When she was done, she realized that the key wasn't going to be very useful. It wouldn't open the door to the school, the office or a cabinet!"
After school, when Jazlyn's mom picks her up, she notices that keys seem to be everywhere; to drive the car, a 'key to the city,' the garage, and even the mailbox. Jazlyn is delighted when her mother gives her her own key, a key to her own diary. The format of Jazlyn J's Key is similar to the other books in the series. The cartoon style depictions of the characters by illustrator Robin Oakes are large and colourful and expressive. The topic, keys, is one which is of some interest and relevance to young children. However, the key to a diary has a limited appeal and seems more appropriate to slightly older children. As in the other Jazlyn J books, the story ends with Jazlyn and her family sharing their favourite parts of the day. This theme of sharing a day's events is intended to help children reflect on the positive highlights, lessons learned and things to be valued, although Jazlyn's dad usually connects the best part of his day to food. The last page includes a question. In this book, the question, "What keys do you have in your family?" would elicit limited conversation whereas, in other titles, topics such as empathy, jealousy, money etc. would lead to a deeper discussion.
Janice Foster is a recently retired teacher and teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.
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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.