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


Princess Bun Bun.

Richard Scrimger. Illustrated by Gillian Johnson.
Toronto, ON: Tundra Books, 2002.
24 pp., cloth, $16.99.
ISBN 0-88776-543-2.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 4-7.

Review by L.M. Sykes.

**½ /4


The elevator started to go up."Now see what you have done, Bun Bun!" said Winifred. She wondered what to do. She could push a button, but which one?

"This is all your fault, Bun Bun!" Winifred said. "If you didn't know how to walk, this never would have happened!"

Bun Bun started to cry. Winifred picked her up. "There there," she said. Just like Mommy.

Mommy. Winifred thought of Mommy, waiting below.

Princess Bun Bun, Richard Scrimger's second Bun Bun book, finds the same familiar characters setting off on an outing. Winifred and her family are eager to visit Uncle Dave in his new condominium. The kids wonder if Castle Apartments will be like a real castle complete with knights and dragons and a princess. When they reach the apartment, the lobby and security guard fuel Winifred's imagination and fairy tale theme. Baby Brenda, also known as Bun Bun, has recently started walking and, when she notices an elevator with its doors open, she walks right in and Winifred chases after her. The doors instantly close, and the elevator takes the girls up to several different floors. On one, a dog is mistaken for a monster, a cleaning lady with a broom becomes a witch in the girls' eyes and a young lady is thought to be a princess. At the final stop, Winifred is relieved to spot her Uncle Dave who reunites the girls with their mom, dad and brother. Uncle Dave assures Winifred that she and Bun Bun are the only princesses in his castle.

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     Richard Scrimger's second picture book, Princess Bun Bun, is an original take on a family visit. As in the first book, the children are the main focus with the adults being secondary characters. The personalities of Winifred and her brother Eugene are conveyed through the story's dialogue, and Eugene's comments, in particular, add humour to the story. Bun Bun furthers the plot when her walking skills cause a problem.

     The castle theme is developed throughout the story with many references including a moat, guard, dragon and princess. Some parents and young readers may be surprised to find Winifred and Bun Bun trapped on an elevator and talking to strangers as the doors open. The verbal exchange in the case of the "princess" is likely above many young reader's comprehension:

"Are you a princess?" asked Winifred.

"Sometimes," said the beautiful lady.

"Is this elevator going up or down?"

"Up." Winifred frowned.

How could you be a sometimes princess?

"Sometimes I'm a girl-next-door," said the beautiful lady, as the doors closed.

     The character of Uncle Dave is introduced at the end of the story in time to help reunite the girls with their parents and wraps up the original purpose of the visit.

     Gillian Johnson has once again provided the artwork for Richard Scrimger's text. Her watercolour paintings convey much expression on the characters' faces and communicate the unfolding drama of the story. The illustrations are fairly small in size, however, and for this reason may not suit large group sharing.

     In the end, Scrimger's characters are well-developed, and Winifred's bravery will overcome any unease a young reader may experience at the premise of being lost in a new building. An original story.


Lisa Sykes has worked as an early-years teacher and teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB, and has recently moved with her family to Barrie, ON.

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

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