________________ CM . . . . Volume VI Number 13 . . . . March 3, 2000

cover The Invisible Day.

Marthe Jocelyn. Illustrated by Abby Carter.
Toronto, ON: Tundra Books, 1997.
149 pp., pbk., $6.99.
ISBN 0-88776-477-0.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.
Review by Jo-Anne Mary Benson.

*** /4


It was soft and thick, like crushed chalk or cocoa powder. I rubbed more on my cheeks and arms. It had the faint smell of stale toffee. I felt, not exactly a tingle, but a warming. For a moment, it made my skin gleam.

Then, even though it's impossible, I seemed to get fuzzy, like a photograph out of focus. And then, before my very own eyes, I began to disappear!

It was the strangest feeling I've ever had, watching myself fade away to nothing. Even when I was gone, I could see. I mean, my eyes still worked so I could look in the mirror.

image Sometimes, 10-year-old Billie Stoner wished she had more privacy. Living with her mom and her little sister, Jane, is alright; however, their sharing the small apartment and doing absolutely everything together is often just too much. To further complicate matters, Billie's mom is the librarian at her school, a situation which gives Billie the feeling of being constantly babysat. Things change dramatically when Billie finds a purse during a family stroll in Central Park.

In The Invisible Day, Marthe Jocelyn does an excellent job in capturing the frame of mind of many 10-year-olds. She demonstrates how Billie and many other children of Billie's age, who are bordering on the edge of childhood and adolescence, desire independence. The story revolves around Billie's discovery and experimentation with a magic powder that quickly gives Billie the independence she longs for when she surprisingly finds she has become invisible. Though her initial reaction is one of joy, because her invisibility allows her to be an unknown observer at school, she quickly realizes she will have to explain her absence to the teachers and her mother. Immediately, Billie and her best friend, Hubert, embark on an exciting adventure in the city to find the owner of the purse and hopefully the antidote for the powder. Throughout the journey, readers will easily identify with the children's mixed emotions that range from the excitement of the situation to their fear of the unknown.

Within the story, Jocelyn touches on and incorporates many significant issues that are relevant to children of this age group, such as friendship, sibling rivalry, peer pressure, and the parent/child relationship. The reader's attention is continually held as the "invisible Billie" finds herself in unusual circumstances and playing mischievous tricks. Adding further appeal to books are its short chapters and the addition of numerous cartoon-like drawings which humorously capture many of the special moments throughout the book.

The Invisible Day is recommended for its entertainment value and its ability to activate readers' imagination and to cause them to ponder their own responses to the question, "What would I do if I were invisible for a day?"


Jo-Anne Mary Benson of Osgoode, ON, is a writer/reviewer for North American magazines, newspapers, and journals.

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

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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364