CM . . . .
Volume VI Number 18 . . . . May 12, 2000
These small slim publications are similar in format to many early years classroom reading series and are poorly suited to library conditions. However, the vocabulary and literary style preclude their use with beginning readers. For example, a typical verse from the counting poem, The Monster Mash (which uses a large primary font):
"4 little monsters now I'm getting feared hiding, crooked this is getting weird looking at my sides eyes are growing wide yikes! you little monsters four".
And from Bad For Them, Good For Me, an imaginative story of opposites relating what is good for the child but is bad for the adults:
"And as we all know the opposite of democracy is ...oligarchy."
This book is printed in a font one would expect in junior fiction. According to the distributor's notes, the black paper cutout on orange background illustrations of The Monster Mash won an American Institute of Graphic Design Award. With each new page, a new monster is added, and the previous ones are reduced in size. While the lively monsters may be appealing, they are interchangeable, thereby failing to reflect the specific verse that they represent.
The vibrant full-colour watercolour illustrations found in Bad For Them, Good For Me feature expressive human characters which are reminiscent in design to colouring book characters. The cameo appearances of Tolstoy, Einstein and Elvis may appeal to adult readers but add little for young readers.
Joan Simpson is the teacher-librarian at Dalhousie School in Winnipeg, MB.
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