________________ CM . . . . Volume V Number 3 . . . . October 2, 1998

cover Wonderful Junk.

Troon Harrison. Illustrated by Geoff Hocking.
Toronto, ON: Annick Press, 1998.
32 pp. hardcover, $16.95 (cl), $6.95 (pbk).
ISBN 1-55037-521-0 (cl), ISBN 1-55037-520-2 (pbk).

Kindergarten - grade 2 / Ages 4 - 7.
Review by Alison Mews.

*** /4


He thought he would look more dignified riding to auctions on a strong horse. The problem was that horses cost money.

Jeremiah puzzled over this, but finally he cried: "That's it! I'll trade for a horse!"

Charlotte thought this was a wonderful idea - she loved horses. "When you're not using it, I can borrow it to ride to school," she told Jeremiah.

For days Jeremiah wondered what to trade. It wasn't just any old thing you could use to get a horse.

Finally he lifted one arm and spun around with his eyes closed. He pointed at a ship inside a bottle.

"Hmmm, this seems like a funny thing to trade for a horse," said Jeremiah. "Still, everything has a use."

He dusted it off and set out.

image And on the unlikely quest to trade a ship in a bottle for a horse, Jeremiah, the auctioneer, and his niece, Charlotte, launch forth. In true storytelling fashion, this original story follows them as they perform trade after trade to people who, coinciden tally, just happen to need what Jeremiah currently possesses. The bartering becomes progressively more bizarre until they find themselves with only shrimp sandwiches, and Jeremiah despairs of ever getting his horse. But his fortunes take a turn for the better when a hungry potter trades them for a beaut iful bowl, just the kind that the preacher, who is outside admiring his brand new car, needs for a baptismal font. Young Charlotte appraises the situation, and, with her intervention, the deal is clinched for a quiet horse that has been displaced by the new car. The concluding illustration has Jeremiah and Charlotte, along with the ever-present cat and chicken, happily per ched atop the prized horse.

      Australian artist Geoff Hocking has employed a combination of watercolour, coloured leads and other drawing tools to create energetic, cartoonish drawings of the busy inhabitants in Jeremiah's rural world. The variation in size and placement of the illus trations throughout the book creates a dynamic design that adds further energy. Hocking brings out the implicit humour in the quirky quest and provides a visual feast for children to explore. Jeremiah is an unrepentant pack-rat and Hocking's pictures teem with his jumble of 'useful stuff'. The addition of an unlikely cat and chicken duo, who trail Jeremiah consta ntly, add to the clutter that surrounds him. The full-page picture of a determined Jeremiah peddling an old bike, with the chicken clutching the crooked handlebars, and the cat hissing around his neck, provides an insightful view of both Jeremiah's accomm odating nature and his persistence as he barters his way to a horse.

Recommended for every child who has ever collected or traded items, or those who just like a satisfying story.

Alison Mews is the Coordinator of the Centre for Instructional Services in the Faculty of Education, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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