________________ CM . . . . Volume V Number 1 . . . . September 4, 1998

cover Crazy for Chocolate.

Frieda Wishinsky. Illustrated by Jock McRae.
Richmond Hill, ON: Scholastic Canada, 1998.
68 pp, paper, $4.99.
ISBN 0-590-12397-1.

Subject Headings:
Chocolate-Juvenile fiction.
Time travel-Juvenile fiction.
Computer games-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 2 - 5 / Ages 7 - 10.
Review by Mary Thomas.

*** /4


A velvety brown chocolate bar appeared on the screen. I could almost taste its rich milky flavour.

Then a message appeared: WARNING! Once you begin, you must proceed to the finish. Click once to begin. Click twice to escape. WARNING! Keep your mouse close AT ALL TIMES!

"Give me a break," I said. "I know what to do with a mouse." I clicked once.

Take Jumanji, cross it with "The Magic Tree House" series, update it to an interactive CD situation, and what you might get is Crazy for Chocolate. Anne has to do a history project, and the class has been told to "choose something you love," so what better choice than chocolate. When she rushes into the library the weekend before the project is due (a situation calculated to evoke feelings of sympathy!), there is a different librarian in charge, one who smiles strangely and gives Anne not only some books but also a CD. As quoted above, one click of the mouse starts Anne off - first to the jungle where the cacao beans are being harvested, then on to Columbus's ship as he takes the first beans back to Spain. She meets Marie Therese, Queen of France, who is "loco for cocoa," Louis Sacher (and his sacher torte!), and Mrs. Wakefield at the very moment when she is inventing the chocolate chip cookie. Always a hurried double-click of the mouse pulls Anne out of immediate danger and on to the next stage of the chocolate saga until finally she lands back in her own bedroom where, strangely enough, the CD has evaporated from her computer's drive. The conclusion is Anne's written project for which she gets an A and an appreciative comment about its good use of resources.

      This book starts off with an intrinsically appealing subject, and each chapter ends as a cliff-hanger with the reader's having no idea where the double click will next take Anne, except that it couldn't be worse than being thrown overboard or into a rat-infested dungeon or something similarly dreadful! Young readers needing encouragement and instant gratification will find it in the book's short chapters, and, if they read the finished project instead of skipping to the end to find out what mark Anne gets, they will learn a great deal about the history of chocolate. As Anne's essay concludes, "It has made the world a sweeter place."


Mary Thomas works in two elementary school libraries in Winnipeg, and loves chocolate.

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