CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 37 . . . . May 27, 2011
If you've ever visited Halifax, NS, you may have seen the Theodore Too, a vessel that was commissioned by Cochran Entertainment, Inc., the company that produced the Theodore Tugboat children's television series that originally appeared on the CBC TV network from 1994-2001. Initially, Theodore Too was used to promote the television show, but now it is owned by a tour company and provides tours of Halifax harbour in the summer.
The storyline of Theodore Too and the Excuse-Me Monster is quite slight. A splash in the harbour arouses Theodore Too's curiosity, and he suggests that the splash might have been caused by a submarine. Lucy Tug suggests a diver might be responsible while a reoccurrence of the splash frightens Guy Seagull who drops his ice cream cone while positing, "Maybe it's a sea monster!" When the splash appears to talk, saying "Excuse me," Guy Seagull labels it the Excuse-me Monster. The splash-causing monster is, in fact, just a whale that has wandered into the harbour and is now seeking directions back to the ocean. After Guy manages to accidentally scare the whale, the two tugboats and the seagull provide the needed directional advice, and the book ends.
Poplawska's illustrations are bright and colourful, and readers familiar with Halifax's harbour will certainly recognize local landmarks.
Theodore Too and the Excuse-Me Monster belongs to what I call "souvenir literature," books whose appeal is principally based on a child's previous experience with another medium, in this case the child's possible viewing of the TV show's DVDs or even, perhaps, the child's having taken a ride on the actual Theodore Too.
Recommended with reservations.
Dave Jenkinson, who is CM's editor and who lives in Winnipeg, MB, has actually seen Theodore Too plying the waters of Halifax Harbour.
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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.