________________ CM . . . . Volume V Number 21 . . . . June 18, 1999

cover Of Two Minds.

Carol Matas and Perry Nodelman.
Richmond Hill, ON: Scholastic Canada, 1998.
200 pp., pbk., $4.99.
ISBN 0-590-39468-1.

Subject Headings:
Psychic ability-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 5-7 / Ages 10-12.
Review by Harriet Zaidman.

**** /4


She ran to the top of the stairs. The dogs were right behind her. She skipped, taking the steps three at a time, but she wasn't fast enough. The dogs barked and yapped and began to howl.

From where she stood, the staircase went down four floors. She sprang onto the banister and slid down. Why not? The dress was ruined already.

Yes, now she was ahead of them. She reached the first landing, ran around to the top of the next flight, leaped onto the next banister and slid down again. Her hair tumbled around her. If she could only get out the main door at the bottom and call for help. There would be servants below, gardeners outdoors; someone would be there, had to be there. She willed them to be there.

She could see the bottom now, and at the next landing, she leaned over the banister for a better view. A huge white form blocked the doorway. It was a massive white bear, very round, very beautiful, really. But she knew she would never get past it.

And she didn't know where it had come from, couldn't imagine where it had come from. That was the scariest part.

The imaginative mind of Princess Lenora sweeps the reader into the action in Of Two Minds. From the beginning, it is a constant challenge to figure out where the action is taking place, what is real and what isn't. Princess Lenora lives in a world where everyone can create what they want through imagination. But Lenora's powers are far stronger than any others, and the boredom she feels at her cloistered life leads her to develop her imagination in ways that have negative effects on others, especially her royal parents. Lately, she has been seeing things she didn't plan, and she fears their consequences. But, when her parents announce that she has no choice but to marry a mind-reading prince from another kingdom, Lenora eschews all risks and plunges into the unknown. What she doesn't expect is that Coren, the prince, plunges with her.

      The two experience an entirely new world and, through great difficulty and danger, overcome a great malevolent ruler. In restoring the rights and peace of another kingdom, Lenora and Coren each realize their own faults, figure out how to deal with each other and gain mutual respect. By working with Coren, instead of being headstrong, Lenora realizes that others have something to offer, and Coren learns that adventure can be interesting and that a challenge is more fun than being safe all the time.

      Of Two Minds is an interesting fantasy tale with modern overtones. The story could easily be one of two contemporary teenagers whose parents have plotted their marriage for economic reasons. The personalities of Lenora and Coren are developed adequately so that their responses to the action make sense. Lenora's initial scorn for knights in shining armor becomes admiration, as Coren, hardly a knight and certainly not dressed in shining armor, shows his depth of thought and courage.

      The novel also provides readers with many ideas about cooperation between cultures and peoples, the power of imagination, and the strength and growth that can be found in working together. It is a good book to have on hand for casual reading, or it can be used in the classroom to promote thought within a unit on fantasy or fairy tales. It contains light humour and will keep young readers wondering what will happen in the next chapter.

Highly Recommended.

Harriet Zaidman is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

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

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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364