CM . . . .
Volume VI Number 16 . . . . April 14, 2000
Out on the porch the wind whipped the snow into tiny white drifts, like meringue on a big frozen pie.Jane Barclay's first book has already won the 1998 The Writers' Union of Canada (TWUC) Writing for Children Competition. The text is a mixture of first person narrative and rhyming sequences that describe a cold that would send any reader crawling back into bed under a warm quilt. Barclay takes the reader through many familiar experiences: frost on the window, the cat who wants outside but quickly scratches to get back inside, a squirrel rummaging for seeds, the car that won't start, and the walk to and from school. And what child hasn't wondered if there was a huge monster living under the sewer grate that seems to breathe in the cold of a winter day? As a complement to the very expressive language, Janice Donato has provided frosty images in beautiful pastel shades. The illustrations also appear wonderfully animated as the snowman's arms blow in the north wind or the cold whistles into the house, swirling around the young boy's boots. Here is an excellent book for motivating young children to use descriptive and imaginative language when writing about living in Canada in the winter. Once they have listened to Barclay's first description of the "freezing, sneezing, goose-bumpy, teeth-chattering...kind of cold," they will be bubbling over with their own ideas to describe the cold they know so well. The continued repetition of the title question, "How cold was it?" is also an attractive feature for young children. The language in the narrative text, however, is often too sophisticated and lost on the targeted audience. Nevertheless, add this book to your poetry support collection.
Susan Fonseca is a teacher-librarian at Glenwood School in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association.
Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice
is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without
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.