________________ CM . . . . Volume IX Number 17 . . . . April 25, 2003


A Straw for Two.

Éric Sanvoisin. Illustrated by Martin Matje. Translated by Georges Moroz.
New York, NY: Dell Yearling (distributed in Canada by Random House of Canada), 1998/9.
38 pp., pbk., $6.99.
ISBN 0-440-41665-5.

Subject Headings:

Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11.

Review by Christina Neigel.

**** /4


Little Red Ink Drinker.

Éric Sanvoisin. Illustrated by Martin Matje. Translated by Georges Moroz.
New York, NY: Delacorte Press (distributed in Canada by Random House of Canada), 2002/3.
37 pp., cloth, $
ISBN 0-385-72967-7.

Subject Headings:
Humorous stories.
Characters in literature-Fiction.

Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11.

Review by Christina Neigel.

**** /4



With my straw, I live a thousand lives. Each of them different. Each of them thrilling. The only problem is that no one must know. So I consume the books in secret, sucking the ink and swallowing the words when no one is watching. It goes without saying that I do this at night. That’s the easy part.

The hard part is that I can’t share my straw with anyone. I’m very lonely (A Straw for Two)


The wolf was watching us, his teeth bared in a snarl and an ominous gurgling coming from his throat. As for Little Red Riding Hood, the little brat was staring at us with undisguised contempt.

“The wolf and I, we get tired of living out the same old story,” she said. “So we’ve decided to take your straw and escape to fresher air.” (Little Red Ink Drinker)

Odilon, son of a bookseller, had the misfortune of running into Draculink, a vampire who sucks the ink out of the pages of books. After Draculink tattooed his name on Odilon’s arm with his teeth, Odilon became part of the ink drinking underworld. Odilon tries to carry out his life in a normal fashion, but he must conceal his dark secret from his parents and friends. Unfortunately, this makes Odilon terribly lonely. In an effort to rectify this, Odilon decides to seek out a girl named Carmilla in hopes of turning her into an ink drinker and companion. However, Carmilla is not all that she appears.

     A companion to The Ink Drinker, this English translation of Éric Sanvoisin’s Une Paille Pour Deux is a wonderfully illustrated book for young readers. Formatted as beginner style chapter book, illustrator Martin Matje extends the humourous storyline through equally humourous and striking cartoon-like watercolour images. The combination of drawings and well-developed text makes it easy for young readers to decode some of the more challenging words that appear in this work. Unlike many early chapter books, A Straw for Two is extremely clever and witty.

     This is an amazingly refreshing read for this category of children’s books. Sanvoisin uses a fantastic combination of humour and creativity that will titillate young readers who like spooky adventure.

     As a continuation of the Ink Drinker series, Little Red Ink Drinker will not let fans down. Odilon’s life takes a new and interesting twist as he and his girlfriend - “the love of his life,” Carmilla, are sucked into the story of Little Red Riding Hood by the story’s villain, the wolf. It turns out that the wolf and Little Red Riding Hood were getting tired of living out the same old story so they sucked in the ink drinkers to spice things up. Odilon and Carmilla are transformed into the wolf and Little Red Riding Hood. They must quickly find a way out of the story before Odilon is consumed by the instinct to eat his girlfriend.

     This is another witty example of Savoisin and Matje’s work. The relationship between Odilon and Carmilla continues to develop and their remarkable adventures continue to entertain. These books are certain to build strong vocabularies and maintain an interest in reading!

Highly Recommended.

Christina Neigel is the Instruction Librarian for the University College of the Cariboo. Her first love will always be books for young people.

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

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ISSN 1201-9364
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