CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 16. . . .December 17, 2010.
Sheree Fitch. Illustrated by Sydney Smith.
Halifax, NS: Nimbus, 2010.
24 pp., hardcover, $19.95.
Children's poetry, Canadian (English).
Preschool-grade 3 / Ages 4-8.
Review by Reesa Cohen.
This reviewer is an unabashed fan of Sheree Fitch, a beloved children's author/poet. So it is with huge enthusiasm that I welcome back Mabel Murple. Yahoo!
Mabel Murple has been recently released by Nimbus Publishing as part of a new series, "A Sheree Fitch Classic." The popular tongue twister from 1995 was the winner of the Anne Connor Brimer Award for Children's Literature. Thankfully, we can all celebrate the return of the lovable girl who simply adores purple.
Fitch draws readers into the world of the energetic and daring heroine with the question,
What if... There was a purple planet
With purple people on it.
Then readers are off into the dynamic imaginative world of a "purple sort of girl" named Mabel Murple. This daring young girl rides a purple motorbike through purple puddles while wearing a purple helmet. Her hair and house are purple and, of course, so is her poodle. She gets into purple trouble with her purple sneakers and skateboard and seems to enjoy it thoroughly.
She bumpled to a purple store
Then she slurped purple juice
People shouted "Scateboard Scallywag!
Mabel Murple's on the Loose!"
Her readers will also enjoy all her fearless antics, including seeing her feasting on purple pancakes and skiing on purple snow before going home to her purple coloured bed where she has technicolor dreams! The ending is priceless.
This delightful rhythmic story will capture the next generation of adoring fans and is accompanied by brand new illustrations from Sidney Smith that perfectly complement the zany wild joy of the text. ... and our heroine's mischievous charm, in varying degrees of purple, violet, mauve. The detailed, engaging illustrations include some intriguing perspectives and humorous depictions of spunky Mabel in full action, with my favourite being her skiing through the air in all her glory, purple goggles and all.
Mabel Murple is a book that begs to be read out loud because Sheree Fitch's well-chosen words result in toes tapping, fingers clicking and voices that must mimic the rhythmic bouncing sounds. It is a perfect choice to help develop language skills and rhythm. As a performance poet, Fitch's many children's books are characterized by exuberant word play, humorous rhymes, enchanting images. All have received critical acclaim. In 2000, she was recipient of the Vicky Metcalf Award for a body of work inspirational to Canadian Children. This is a writer who wishes "to share her love of words with others so that they may enjoy and cherish the gift of language as she does." To hear her own rich voice, so full of wonderful inflection, check out a reading of Mabel Murple at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0F87Y1h6siY
Reesa Cohen is a retired Instructor of Children's Literature and Information Literacy at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB.
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