CM . . . .
Volume VII Number 6 . . . . November 17, 2000
There is a risk of severe storms today, they said on the radio. I forecast the same thing at home. First my parents had a fight. Them my mother cut her hand when she was slicing bread. That was the last straw. "I've had it! I'm at the end of my rope," she cried as she ran out of the room.So begins the most recent addition to the Maddie series. Things don't improve as the morning progresses. Angelbaby catapults her cereal onto brother Julian's head, brother Alexander steals Maddie's jacket, and mother wants to "Fly-y-y-y away." The kids should fly too but don't and miss the bus. At school, things are just as bad. Patrick retaliates when Maddie teases him, Alexander tattles about Maddie's meanness, and best friend Clementine criticizes her. Drama class should provide an opportunity to release her emotions. But a new performance is announced, and the leading role will go to the most deserving student. Maddie thinks that means the best actor, but what if it means the best behaved student?
After school, Maddie discovers Mom has left and blames herself. Feeling guilty, she decides to reform, and, besides, it might help her get the lead role. Irrepressible Maddie needn't worry. Mother intends to return, and brother Julian ensures she will at least share the leading role. Through Maddie, a child's perspective on a day when everything goes wrong is accurately portrayed. The tension in the family and Maddie's frustration at school are well conveyed through the text.
Marie-Louise Gay's charming illustrations, whether full- or half-page in size, accurately portray situations and character responses. In this translation by Sarah Cummins, the vocabulary is somewhat challenging, and the line breaks are not supportive of young readers. However, Maddie's experiences are so true to life that most of them should have little difficulty understanding the story.
Joan C. Simpson is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.
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