________________ CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 4. . . .September 23, 2011

cover

The Climate Masters. (The Adventures of Cosmo The Dodo Bird).

Patrice Racine.
Toronto, ON: Tundra Books, 2011.
112 pp., pbk., $12.99.
ISBN 978-1-77049-243-1.

Grades 2-5 / Ages 7-10.

Review by Jonine Bergen.

** /4

   

excerpt:



"It looks like a remote control," said Left. The two-heads climbed out of the crater with the remote control. "Look at all the beautiful symbols, Left. They look like pieces of art." "They look like buttons." Left wasn't interested in art. He wanted to know where the object came from and what it was for. "Let's see what it does." Right pressed one of the buttons. Suddenly, the heavens were covered in a gray cloud. The bright day darkened. A snowflake landed on the left head's nose. It was snowing!

 

     Originally published as Les Aventures de Cosmo le dodo: La TempÍte I, The Climate Masters is one of the recently translated novels in the "Adventures of Cosmo the Dodo Bird" series published by Tundra books. The series revolves around Cosmo, a dodo bird, who knows that he is the last of his kind. When Cosmo is rescued by a robot-spaceship from the future, 3R-V, he and his new friend decide to travel the universe looking for other dodo birds. During their travels, they have many adventures, make new friends, and learn about the importance of protecting the environment.

internal art     In The Climate Masters, Cosmo and 3R-V locate two new planets to explore. While they are away from their wandering planet, a strange remote control crashes onto it. Their friends, Fabrico, Diggs, and the two-heads, Right and Left, find the controller and quickly learn that it controls the climate on their planet. Meanwhile, Cosmo and 3R-V find one of the planets they wanted to visit is being destroyed by a savage storm. The second planet has already been destroyed, likely in the same way.

      Disappointed, they head back to their travelling planet where they see a similar storm developing. When they land, Cosmo and 3R-V find a power-hungry Diggs forcing his former friends to be his minions by controlling the weather. Cosmo and 3R-V realize that they are all in danger as long as the climate is being interfered with.

      Pat Rac (Patrice Racine), the creator and illustrator of Cosmo, has used a palette filled with browns and greens as a background for his cartoon creatures. The use of shading and the 3-dimensional quality of the art bring a sense of realism to the imaginary landscape. Rac is particularly effective in portraying the emotions of his odd crew, thereby providing much needed personality.

      The plot, however, is disjointed and lacking transitions. Since I have not read the original in French, I cannot comment on whether the awkward plot is a result of the translation. In this version of the tale, the reader will find too much extraneous material and too many subplots for a novel intended for an emerging reader. The focus on the dictatorial nature of Diggs and the vengeful behaviour of Fabrico takes attention away from the central focus of the danger caused by the manipulation of the weather. Indeed, other than the storm, it is not clear that the remote control came from either of the two new planets visited by Cosmo and 3R-V. Finally the switch between first-person and third-person narrative adds a level of complexity that is unnecessary to the tale.

      To reiterate, I have not read the first books in this series nor have I read the original French version. The earlier novels may add the additional background needed to appreciate the characters. The Climate Masters may appeal to some students with its unique characters and attempts at humour. If one is looking for a novel about making choice to help the environment, however, there are better alternatives.

Recommended with reservations.

Jonine Bergen is a librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

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
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