________________ CM . . . . Volume IV Number 19 . . . . May 22, 1998

Cover Galena's Gift.

Rosemary Nelson.
Toronto, ON: Napoleon Publishing, 1997.
133 pp, paperback, $7.95.
ISBN 0-929141-56-3.

Subject Headings:
Human-alien encounters-Juvenile fiction.
Alpaca-Juvenile fiction.
Friendship-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 4 - 6 / Ages 9 - 11.
Review by Noreen Paterson.

**** /4


"You just like them because they think you're cute," I teased. It suddenly occurred to me that Galena had used the work "like", rather than "tolerate". Maybe she was beginning to understand some of Earth's strange emotions.

Back in class, I sat her on my knee while Paul and I made our presentation. The gist of it was that a "friend" can be anything...it doesn't have to be a person...as long as the object does something for you, like bring you comfort, or keep you company. For some little kids, a favorite blanket or soother becomes their friend. For older people maybe their car or their TV becomes their friend. For Paul and me, it was our mascot, Galena.

I think Mr. Thomas was impressed with our unusual presentation. He even agreed to let us take our mascot into the science room for the next period, as long as she was in the gym bag on a shelf by the door. If I'd guessed what was going to happen in science that day, I'd have left Galena at home and probably played sick myself.

Those who have read The Golden Grasshopper will also enjoy this sequel that occurs two years later. Gagar returns to the planet Earth with his precocious young daughter, Galena, and asks Lisa, now a 12-year-old grade sixer, to babysit her and teach her about life on Earth. Once again, Lisa enlists Paul's help in order to complete this assignment from Gagar without arousing any suspicion from anyone else, especially Lisa's mother.

      Dr. Ferguson, the veterinarian with whom Lisa had such a stormy relationship in the previous book, has now married Lisa's mother and moved his veterinary clinic to their farm. Lisa is jealous of the time her mother spends with him. To top things off, instead of getting a horse, they were going to get and raise alpacas.

      Lisa is also having problems with her friend, Michael. He informs her that, because all redheads have bad tempers, he doesn't want anything more to do with her. In order to show Michael what a redhead really was, Lisa dyes her hair and cuts it short, an act which triggers Galena to cut off her own beautiful blond curls.

      During English class, Lisa's teacher assigns a project on friendship. Lisa overhears Brad tell the teacher that he couldn't do the assignment because he had never had a friend. Brad, whose nickname was "Wormface," was not liked at school. One day, Lisa found herself offering to help Brad with the assignment.

      When Lisa's mother informs her that she will soon have a baby brother or sister. Lisa is jealous of having to share her mother; however, Lisa recognizes her character flaw when she realizes that Galena is jealous of the time she spends with her mother.

      Just before returning to her own planet, Galena helps Lisa and Paul save one of the baby alpacas (crias).

      Galena's Gift is a warmhearted, moving story, one with which most children will be able to identify.

Highly recommended.

Noreen Paterson is a librarian at the Crystal City School, Crystal City, Manitoba.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © 1998 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