________________ CM . . . . Volume V Number 8 . . . . December 11, 1998

cover Whatever You Do, Don't Go Near That Canoe!

Julie Lawson. Illustrated by Werner Zimmermann.
Toronto, ON: Scholastic Canada, 1996.
30 pp., paper., $5.99.
ISBN 0-590-12422-6.

Subject Headings:
Pirates-Juvenile fiction.
Voyages and travels-Juvenile fiction.
Canoes and canoeing-Juvenile fiction.

Kindergarten - grade 4 / Ages 5 - 9.
Review by Irene Gordon.

**** /4


"Well shiver me timber and scuttle me board!
This here is sure something to see!
Skuzzle me skullbones and frizzle me beard.
It's the dug-out of Captain McKee!
Big Bart wants to know and he wants to know now,"
A pirate snarled into my face,
"How it is that you two got the Captain's canoe,
And how you discovered this place."
"Let's reel 'em and keel 'em," the pirates cried out.
"Let's teach 'em a lesson or two.
Let's splinter their giddles and twickle their toes,
For taking the Captain's canoe."
image Whatever You Do, Don't Go Near That Canoe! is a story in rhyme about two children who go off on a fantastic canoe trip to visit some pirates. It definitely must be read aloud to get the full flavour of the pirate speech with its sprinkling of made-up words and slightly off-kilter use of stereotypical pirate jargon.

      An extremely sensitive child might find the meeting with the pirates too frightening, especially when it seems that the pirates plan to roast the children for taking the Captain's canoe. Most children enjoy being scared in this way, however, and it soon becomes obvious that the only things to be roasted are marshmallows and wieners.

      Werner Zimmermann's watercolour illustrations add a great deal to the book. Those at the beginning and end evoke Julie Lawson's West Coast setting beautifully while the middle ones with the pirates are a suitably scary-humorous mix.

      I have only one minor criticism of the text. It is not clear until page 13 that O'Malley is the stuffed kangaroo. To that point, I thought she was the narrator's brother because, on page 2, the text reads, "So off we went...my brother, O'Malley, and me."

Highly recommended.

Irene Gordon of Headingley, Manitoba, is a free-lance writer and former teacher-librarian who spent 14 years working in a junior high school library.

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

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ISSN 1201-9364