Simon Finds a Treasure.
Gilles Tibo. Illustrated by Gilles Tibo.
Kindergarten - grade 3 / Ages 5 - 8.
Gilles Tibo is an illustrator with a strong following in his home province of Quebec, and in some cases, justifiably so. This is not one of those cases. The illustrations in this book are joyful and appealing, however, they are not well supported by the text and that, in the end, is the book's weakness. Whether this is a case of poor translation or weak original text is difficult to say without the original in hand for comparison. Nevertheless, one can imagine few children sticking with a book, no matter how enchanting the illustrations (and these illustrations would be so described by only the most indulgent of reviewers) when the narrative is so dull and unappealing.
The story revolves around Simon who is looking for something, one knows not what. He rides off on his rocking horse, finding various clues along the way. He meets his friend Marlene who would help him look if he knew what it was he was looking for. When Simon is unable to say just what it is he is searching for Marlene leaves (and all the smarter for having done so, in my opinion). Out of nowhere Simon comes upon a gold miner but, it appears, that is not what he is looking for. He gets lost, wanders into a cave where there is a ghost, becomes scared, and is, finally, rescued by Marlene who, Simon realizes, is the treasure for which he has been looking.
Tibo's illustrations cannot overcome this disjointed, pointless story. Perhaps there was something in the original text that gave this story meaning and life. If so, the author has been ill-served by this translation.
S.A.M McCue formerly worked as a library consultant for the Cree School Board of James Bay.
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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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TABLE OF CONTENTS FOR THIS ISSUE - May 9, 1997.
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