________________ CM . . . . Volume IX Number 5 . . . . November 1, 2002

cover

“Here I Am!” said Smedley. (Blue Bananas).

Simon Puttock. Illustrated by Martin Chatterton & Ann Chatterton.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2002.
48 pp., pbk. & cl., $7.16 (pbk.), $18.36 (cl.).
ISBN 0-7787-0884-5 (pbk.), ISBN 0-7787-0838-1 (cl.).

Subject Headings:
Chameleons-Fiction.
Bashfulness-Fiction.
Friendship-Fiction.

Kindergarten-grade 2 / Ages 5-7.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

** /4

   
cover

Magic Lemonade. (Blue Bananas).

Joyce Dunbar. Illustrated by Jan McCafferty.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2002.
48 pp., pbk. & cl., $7.16 (pbk.), $18.36 (cl.).
ISBN 0-7787-0885-3 (pbk.), ISBN 0-7787-0839-X (cl.).

Subject Headings:
Bossiness-Fiction.
Kings, queens, rulers, etc.-Fiction.
Lemonade-Fiction.

Kindergarten-grade 2 / Ages 5-7.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

** /4

   
cover

Colin and the Curly Claw. (Blue Bananas).

Jan Fearnley.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2002.
48 pp., pbk. & cl., $7.16 (pbk.), $18.36 (cl.).
ISBN 0-7787-0886-1 (pbk.), ISBN 0-7787-0840-3 (cl.).

Subject Headings:
Dinosaurs-Fiction.
Museums-Fiction.
Mothers and sons-Fiction.

Kindergarten-grade 2 / Ages 5-7.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

** /4

   
cover

Peg. (Blue Bananas).

Maddie Stewart. Illustrated by Bee Willey.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2002.
48 pp., pbk. & cl., $7.16 (pbk.), $18.36 (cl.).
ISBN 0-7787-0887-X (pbk.), ISBN 0-7787-0841-1 (cl.).

Subject Headings:
Chickens-Fiction.
Mothers-Fiction.
Birds-Fiction.
Physically handicapped-Fiction.

Kindergarten-grade 2 / Ages 5-7.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

** /4

   
cover

Follow the Swallow. (Blue Bananas).

Julia Donaldson. Illustrated by Martin Ursell.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2002.
48 pp., pbk. & cl., $7.16 (pbk.), $18.36 (cl.).
ISBN 0-7787-0888-8 (pbk.), ISBN 0-7787-0842-X (cl.).

Subject Headings:
Communication-Fiction.
Birds-Fiction.
Friendship-Fiction.

Kindergarten-grade 2 / Ages 5-7.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

** /4

   
cover

The Magnificent Mummies. (Blue Bananas).

Tony Bradman. Illustrated by Martin Chatterton.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2002.
48 pp., pbk. & cl., $7.16 (pbk.), $18.36 (cl.).
ISBN 0-7787-0889-6 (pbk.), ISBN 0-7787-0843-8 (cl.).

Subject Headings:
Mummies-Fiction.
Humorous stories.

Kindergarten-grade 2 / Ages 5-7.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

** /4

   
cover

Horrible Haircut. (Blue Bananas).

Alison Ritchie. Illustrated by Ian Newsham.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2002.
48 pp., pbk. & cl., $7.16 (pbk.), $18.36 (cl.).
ISBN 0-7787-0890-X (pbk.), ISBN 0-7787-0844-6 (cl.).

Subject Headings:
Hair-Fiction.
Haircutting-Fiction.

Kindergarten-grade 2 / Ages 5-7.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

** /4

   
cover

Big Dog and Little Dog Go Sailing. (Blue Bananas).

Selina Young.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2002.
48 pp., pbk. & cl., $7.16 (pbk.), $18.36 (cl.).
ISBN 0-7787-0891-8 (pbk.), ISBN 0-7787-0845-4 (cl.).

Subject Headings:
Boats and boating-Fiction.
Dogs-Fiction.
Whales-Fiction.

Kindergarten-grade 2 / Ages 5-7.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

** /4

   
cover

Dexter’s Journey. (Blue Bananas).

Chris d’Lacey. Illustrated by David Roberts.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2002.
48 pp., pbk. & cl., $7.16 (pbk.), $18.36 (cl.).
ISBN 0-7787-0892-6 (pbk.), ISBN 0-7787-0846-2 (cl.).

Subject Headings:
Ducks-Fiction.
Toys-Fiction.

Kindergarten-grade 2 / Ages 5-7.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

** /4

   
cover

Shoot! (Blue Bananas).

Sue Mayfield. Illustrated by Ken Cox.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2002.
48 pp., pbk. & cl., $7.16 (pbk.), $18.36 (cl.).
ISBN 0-7787-0893-4 (pbk.), ISBN 0-7787-0847-0 (cl.).

Subject Headings:
Soccer-Fiction.
Dogs-Fiction.

Kindergarten-grade 2 / Ages 5-7.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

** /4

   
cover

Midnight in Memphis. (Blue Bananas).

Tony Bradman. Illustrated by Martin Chatterton. Colored by Ann Chatterton.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2002.
48 pp., pbk. & cl., $7.16 (pbk.), $18.36 (cl.).
ISBN 0-7787-0894-2 (pbk.), ISBN 0-7787-0848-9 (cl.).

Subject Headings:
Mummies-Fiction.
Unidentified flying objects-Fiction.

Kindergarten-grade 2 / Ages 5-7.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

** /4

   
cover

Big Dog and Little Dog Visit the Moon. (Blue Bananas).

Selina Young.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2002.
48 pp., pbk. & cl., $7.16 (pbk.), $18.36 (cl.).
ISBN 0-7787-0895-0 (pbk.), ISBN 0-7787-0849-7 (cl.).

Subject Headings:
Dogs-Fiction.
Moon-Fiction.
Space flight to the moon-Fiction.

Kindergarten-grade 2 / Ages 5-7.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

** /4

excerpt:

It started on a ship that was sailing to America. Dexter and a lot of other little ducks were packed tightly into a large wooden crate. There was hardly room for a duck to quack. Suddenly a storm began to blow. The crate slid left. The crate slid right. Then...CRASH! It slid overboard! And all the little ducks went bobbing out to sea. (From Dexter's Journey.)


"Here I Am!" said Smedley.

Smedley, a shy chameleon, blends in so perfectly with his surroundings that he is almost invisible. When a new girl, Sally Skinky, joins the class, she convinces Smedley that he has a special talent. As his confidence grows, Smedley decides to stand out rather than blend in, and so he practises several wild, colourful patterns. Finally, he enters an art show and wins first prize, just being himself.

Magic Lemonade.

Bossy Zoe pretends to be a queen, commanding her friends to do her bidding. When the kids refuse to obey, Zoe entices them with a promise of magic lemonade. The kids scoff at the idea of magic lemonade coming out of a dry, old water pump, but Zoe enchants them with her description of the lemonade's cool, refreshing taste. Back at Zoe's house, the kids have a little party, but when they start to call her "Bossy Boots” and "Her Royal Showoff," Zoe pretends to be a magician and turns her friends into frogs.

Colin and the Curly Claw.

At the museum, Colin reaches out to touch one of the dinosaur's claws, causing the claw to fall off. He takes the claw home but is haunted by the dinosaur's voice. Colin's mother doesn't believe his story, but she takes the claw anyway and puts it into her bathrobe pocket. When the dinosaur appears to retrieve the claw, he takes the bathrobe as well. Decked out in brightly coloured nail polish and the bathrobe, he becomes even more popular with museum visitors.

Peg.

Written in rhyme, this story tells of Peg, the one-legged chicken, who feels useless without a job to do. Benjamin, the farmer's son, brings Peg an ostrich egg to hatch, then, in turn, peacock, duck and meadowlark eggs. All of the newly hatched birds adore their "mother" and rush to her defense when another hen makes fun of Peg's lameness and her plain appearance.

Follow the Swallow.

Chack, the blackbird, and Apollo, the swallow, meet while learning to fly. As they compare notes on their lives, each one doubts the truthfulness of the other. When Apollo flies off to Africa, Chack is determined to send him a message which proves that he has been telling the truth. The messengers, however (a dolphin, a camel, a crocodile and a monkey), pass the word along, much like the telephone game played by children, and so the message is somewhat convoluted by the time Apollo gets it. When the bird buddies are reunited, they finally accept each other's stories. An added bonus to this book is the back page which has pictures of 27 different animals for readers to find on the previous pages.

Magnificent Mummies.

Of this series, the two mummy titles have the least merit. The mummy family (a dad, mom, brother, sister and cat) befriend Sir Digby Digger, an archaeologist. When Sir Digby's vehicle breaks down, the mummies help him to find an alternate means of transportation - a camel. Later, when the family walks down to the river to do their laundry, they discover that the river has "vanished.” A whale is caught in the narrows, causing a blockage of the water. With the help of the children and Sir Digby, the mummies dig the whale out.


Horrible Haircut.

Lucy, who loves her long hair, agrees to have it cut on the condition that if she doesn't like the haircut, she can cut her mom's hair. No matter how her hair is styled, Lucy hates her new look, and so she takes the scissors to her mom's hair. Even wearing funny hats won't solve the pair's dilemma about their bad haircuts. Finally, hair gel comes to the rescue, and both gals like their "cool" look.

Big Dog and Little Dog Go Sailing.

Big Dog and Little Dog spend a delightful day at sea, fishing, snorkeling and waterskiing. A storm comes up, crashing their boat into a big island. The dogs go ashore to explore. Suddenly, the island starts to shake. In fact, the "island" is actually a whale that keeps bumping into things whenever he falls asleep, and so the dogs offer the whale their anchor in exchange for a ride home.

Dexter's Journey.

On a ship bound for America, Dexter, the yellow plastic duck, and his buddies begin a series of adventures. Set adrift when a storm topples the crate, the ducks endure hungry seagulls, fishing nets, polar bears and more. All alone, Dexter is rescued by a submarine captain who takes him home to give to his young grandson. Dexter's adventures are now restricted to the bathtub.

Shoot!

This story, told partially in verse, introduces readers to J.C. United, a kids' soccer team whose mascot is a dog named Shoot. At the game's half, J.C. United leads the tough Ricky's Rockets team by a score of 3-0, but, in the second half, things start to fall apart. With the teams tied at three goals, the competition heats up. Shoot, hearing the crowd yelling, mistakenly thinks they are calling his name, and so he bounds onto the field and heads the ball into the net. J.C. United is victorious!

Midnight in Memphis.

Another mummy family story, this one has the mummies awakened by a flying saucer landing on their pyramid. The little green men aboard the spaceship leave with the mummies a human guitar player, Axle Grease, whom they have befriended. The mummies call the Concrete Sisters to repair the crack made by the spaceship, but the sisters do more harm than good. Finally, the mummies take their new musician friend to Memphis in the hopes of discovering his true identity. It turns out that he is a famous rock star who had lost his memory after a fall and had been rescued by the aliens. As a thank you, Axle Grease gives a free concert to raise money to rebuild the pyramid. He also treats the mummies to the vacation they missed when all the excitement happened. Unbeknownst to the mummies, the vacation is actually a trip to outer space with the aliens (fodder for the next mummy book).

Big Dog and Little Dog Visit the Moon.

When the moon appears to be sad, Big Dog and Little Dog decide to cheer him up. They build a rocket that takes them to the moon. Upon landing, the two dogs walk around on the moon, unintentionally tickling him with their feet. Enjoying this treatment immensely, the moon starts to giggle. Mission accomplished, now the dogs visit the moon every Monday just to keep his spirits up.


The “Blue Bananas” series, designed for beginning readers, bridges the gap between picture and early chapter books. Though a few of the titles have meaningful messages, most have very weak plots, and some are downright silly. Speech bubbles add to the humour, but some of the attempts at humour are above the kids' heads. The text is large and clear and fairly easy to comprehend. Colourful cartoon-like illustrations, matching the tone of the text, will appeal to youngsters. Fun, innocuous, but without literary merit.

Recommended with reservations.

Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian at Bird's hill School in East St. Paul, MB.

 

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

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.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364

NEXT REVIEW |TABLE OF CONTENTS FOR THIS ISSUE - November 1, 2002.

AUTHORS | TITLES | MEDIA REVIEWS | PROFILES | BACK ISSUES | SEARCH | CMARCHIVE | HOME