Maddie in Hospital.
(Originally published as "Sophie fait des folies.")
Louise Leblanc. Illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay.
Grades 3 - 6 / Ages 8 - 11.
It was Black Eagle! Alive! My heart started to beat again. Faster and faster. It was terrifying! My heart was going to burst! I felt Black Eagle gently squeezing my hand in his. All of a sudden I felt feverish again. Love is really rough on you. I didn't know whether I could handle this. Whew!This first novel or "chapter" book tells of a little girl's stay in hospital. Her feelings while there are ambivalent. She wants to stay as a patient in order to attend the hospital's Halloween party with Black Eagle, a young native boy who is a cancer patient. On the other hand, Maddie wants to go home to protect her possessions from siblings and to defend her position as chief of her gang.
Several good messages are conveyed to the reader - that young patients are courageous, that it is necessary to donate money to hospitals, and that it is important to follow doctor's orders. Alternatively, some messages are not terribly healthy. Maddie's granny encourages her to recognize that she is in love, kindling a precocious awareness of girl/boy relationships in a child who still cherishes a toy bunny.
Although the topics and large print of this book are designed to attract the attention of reluctant readers, the vocabulary seems too advanced for such students. Examples of such words and phrases are: "conspiracy," "confirmed," "you monopolized the bathroom," "mother provided a more technical explanation," and "Granny reassured me." Presumably, this results from the translator's unfamiliarity with reading levels.
This book is not highly recommended because its intended readership is not clearly defined due to a vagueness in theme and inappropriate vocabulary.
Recommended with reservations.
Joan Payzant is a retired teacher-librarian living in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.
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Copyright © 1997 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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