________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 20 . . . . May 29, 2009

cover Bruno for Real. (Orca Echoes).

Caroline Adderson. Illustrated by Helen Flook.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2009.
51 pp., pbk., $6.95.
ISBN 978-1-55469-023-7.

Kindergarten-grade 3 / Ages 5-8.

Review by Jonine Bergen.

***˝ /4


At lunch, Bruno found a gingerbread man in his lunch box. He thought of another bad thing. He could eat his cookie before he ate his sandwich.

“Ah-ha-ha-ha-ha!” he cackled.

“No!” the gingerbread man cried. “Don’t eat me! Don’t! Please!”

Bruno said, “Ginger, this is the end of you!”

Isabel was eating her lunch across the table from Bruno. She looked scared. “I’m telling!” she said. And she put up her hand and called out to the teacher, “Ms. Allen! Bruno’s talking to his cookie!”

Everyone laughed!

Bruno is back to share with his readers snippets of his life in grade two. This year, among other things, he learns to tame hiccups, tries being bad, and celebrates his daily birthdays.

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     As with I, Bruno, Caroline Adderson effectively evokes the perspective of a seven-year-old boy through her simple text and precise word choice. In six short chapters –– vignettes from Bruno’s year in grade two –– Adderson celebrates a child’s imagination in a realistically humorous way. She also keeps the text appropriate for this age level. Short sentences, few characters and known settings assist the young reader to step right into the story.

     Young children will jump into bed with Bruno as he is trying to go to sleep. They will nod knowingly as the sheep start climbing up and rolling down a hill instead of quietly staying still and waiting to be counted. Readers will giggle when Bruno’s dad holds him upside down to try to chase hiccups away.

     Helen Flook’s black-and-white cartoons complement Adderson’s text with their exaggerated facial features and simple backgrounds. The illustrations make it easy for the reader to know what to focus on and further express the emotions of the characters.

     Bruno for Real, like most of the “Orca Echoes” series, is an excellent addition to a young reader’s library. Adderson’s imagery and flow of prose make Bruno for Real a successful read-aloud. This is particularly true for the younger grades as each chapter can be read independent of the rest or enjoyed as part of Bruno’s whole year. I am looking forward to a next instalment of award-winning Adderson’s Bruno books.

Highly Recommended.

Jonine Bergen is a teacher and library technician in Winnipeg, MB.

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

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