CM . . .
. Volume XVI Number 2. . . .September 11, 2009
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."
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.
Linda Ludke is a librarian in London, ON.
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