________________ CM . . . . Volume V Number 13 . . . . February 26, 1999

cover A Beautiful Place on Yonge Street.

Don Trembath.
Victoria, BC: Orca Book Publishers, 1998.
190 pp. paper, $7.95.
ISBN 1-55143-121-1.

Subject Headings:
First loves-Juvenile fiction.
Maturation (Psychology)-Juvenile fiction.
Family-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 7 - 10 / Ages 12 - 15.
Review by Mary Thomas.

**** /4


Ms Dunforth gave us the rundown on the place ... and finally, the rules.

'The number one rule for our camp is this,' she said, taking off her glasses. She had them hanging on a little string around her neck. 'When you are asked a question, any question, by a lecturer, or a guest author, or one of your peers, think before you answer. Don't just say, "Oh, I don't know" or "Beats me", or anything like that. Think. That is what we want you to do here. We want you to think and to get used to looking for the answers before you say you don't know them. When this week is over, we want your minds to be wide open to new ideas, new philosophies, new approaches to writing, and new approaches to thinking. And the biggest part of that is going to be getting used to using your mind to solve problems and answer questions before you throw in the towel with mind-numbing expressions like, "I don't know. Beats me. Never seen it before. Never done this before." Alright?'

Everybody was laughing when she finished.

This book is the third in the series about Harper Winslow and, in it, he is 15 and off to camp for a week, a "Good Idea" of his mother's which is regarded by Harper with deep suspicion and merely as a way of getting him out of her hair until she mentions that it is a camp for aspiring writers. Harper definitely regards himself as being in that group, and sets out prepared to enjoy his week. Right from the opening talk, quoted in part above, he does indeed have a good time, in large part because he falls in love with Sunny, the twin sister of one of the other campers who is staying at a nearby cabin with his family.

      Young love, especially first young love, is always funny to the outsider and intensely serious to the participants. The humour here comes in the contrast between Harper's total inexperience of, and involvement in, love, and Sunny's relative detachment; the pathos comes with the difficult decision as to whether Sunny should go to live with an unfavourite aunt who has this 'beautiful place on Yonge Street' in Toronto where Sunny would be able to go to art college, or stay in Edmonton with her family whom she adores, and, incidentally, with Harper.

      So the story is about feelings, and decision-making, and it is funny, and sad, and touching, all at once. There is no condescension; the reader laughs aloud, but with, not at, the characters; and it is great fun.

Highly recommended.

Mary Thomas is presently working in the library at Oxford Brookes University, while on leave from her job as a library clerk in Winnipeg School Division No. 1.

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