________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 39. . . .June 11, 2010


Quillan & Me.

Iris Forde. Illustrated by Diana Forde Leitch.
Calgary, AB: Planet Earth Publishing Project (www.quillandme.com), 2009.
25 pp., pbk., $14.95.
ISBN 978-0-9809938-0-6.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 3-7.

Review by Linda Ludke.

*1/2 /4



While gazing at the stars last night,
I chanced to see a wondrous sight,
An object whizzing from the sky
and landing in a field nearby.

I ran to see what it could be,
this object lying by the tree,
tubular, bright, bluish gray,
appeared to come from far away.


In this intergalactic adventure, a young boy befriends an alien. When Quillan makes an emergency pit stop on Earth, Jake comes to his aid. In return, Quillan invites Jake to visit his home planet. Canubide is a peaceful, ecologically responsible place. Residents live partly underground in big glass domes and wear air packs to travel - their "best solution,/to eliminate pollution." Canubidians are also intellectually superior to Earthlings. Students download information onto microchips planted in their lower lips: "What Quillan accessed in grade one,/ Earth learns next millennium/" After enjoying a meal of vegetables that "tasted just like chocolate pies," a game of "sphere zap" and a tour of the local sights, Jake returns home with newfound wisdom: "Loving thoughts of hope and mirth,/will help bring peace to planet Earth."

internal art     While the descriptions of Canubide are imaginative and engaging, the story sags under the weight of the rhyming couplets. The sameness of the sing-song rhythm causes interest to wane. Some of the verses seem forced: "Come to meet my Dad and Mom/ They were hoping you would come/ They'd like to thank you personally,/ for the time when you helped me." Others are awkward to read aloud: "Geometric math, Earth science,/consciousness and self reliance,/added to my constitution,/maximizes contribution,/expediting evolution." There are also grammatical errors such as "Quillans' friends" and "a planet and it's life forms activities and conditions."

     The cartoon illustrations are colourful and childlike. Quillan looks just like Jake, only with a green face and red and blue hair. There is little variety in facial expressions - most of the pages show big, happy smiles.

     A glossary is included with definitions for some of the words used in the story. In many cases, the explanation is as confusing to young readers as the original word. Twinge is defined as "a sudden short feeling" and planet is defined as "a celestial body orbiting the sun."

Not recommended.

Linda Ludke is a librarian in London, ON.

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

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