________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 2. . . .September 11, 2009

cover

Simon and Catapult Man's Perilous Playground Adventure.

Norene Smiley. Illustrated by Brenda Jones.
Halifax, NS: Nimbus Publishing, 2009.
32 pp., stapled, $8.95.
ISBN 978-1-55109-714-5.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 3-7.

Review by Linda Ludke.

*** /4

   

excerpt:

"There it is!"

Catapult man flew out of Simon's backpack and rushed to cross the street.

"Watch out, Catapult Man!"

Simon to the rescue! He caught Catapult Man, just in the nick of time."

 

Simon spends a day at the playground with his sister Tulip and their father. While the young boy understands and obeys safety rules, his impulsive toy action figure, Catapult Man, serves as a perfect foil. When Catapult Man heedlessly rushes to cross the street, Simon comes to the rescue and gently instructs: "Look to the left... then look to the right."

internal art     The imaginative text captures a child's sense of play. The playground equipment takes on intergalactic proportions with names like "Zero-Gravity Launching Pad" (teeter-totter), "Super-Duper Rocket Booster" (swings) and "Deadly Lunar Bog" (sandbox). Before the children start on their adventures, Simon asks Catapult Man to make sure they are ready: "Atomic Shield up?," "Star Walkers secured," "Adventure Gear engaged?" Brenda Jones' digitally enhanced cartoon illustrations have a graphic novel appeal. The corresponding panels show Simon and Tulip applying sunscreen, tying their shoelaces and putting on sunhats, with Catapult Man appearing in the bottom corner, giving the thumbs-up sign and a dialogue bubble saying, "Check!"

     As Simon and Catapult Man travel around the playground, many teachable moments occur. Simon stops Catapult Man from climbing up the slide the wrong way and getting stuck at the top of the jungle gym. The illustrations show the supportive hand of Simon's father helping him along.

     The final pages include a playground scene and an invitation for readers to "spot the children who are playing safely at the playground" and the "ones doing things that are dangerous." Simon and Catapult Man's Perilous Playground Adventure is an engaging, non-didactic introduction to playground safety.

Recommended.

Linda Ludke is a librarian in London, ON.

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

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.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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