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PreSchool-Grade 1-A young Chinese-Canadian girl wants to go to the nearby town of Kapuskasing. Her father says, "No way," but Gah-Ning tries anyway, first on her bike, then on rollerblades. Both times, her father catches her and takes her home. She succeeds the third time, though, floating all the way there with the help of 300 balloons. The theme of childhood defiance (and eventual success in getting what you want) is, of course, always popular with children. Munsch mixes contemporary details with a folkloric style in an interesting but not always successful manner. On the whole, the plot is unfocused. The brightly colored, cartoon illustrations suit the story, and the illustrator plays with the design and layout in interesting ways. But even some of the liveliest scenes have a somewhat static look, and the facial expressions of the characters lack subtlety. The author's description of meeting the real Gah-ning is more intriguing than this slight story.
Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Robert Munsch is the author of more than 25 books for children including The Paper Bag Princes and Stephanie's Ponytail. He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and studied to be a Jesuit priest before deciding to work with children instead. He taught in a variety of nursery schools and daycare centers while he earned an MA in Early Childhood Education. In 1975, Munsch and his wife, Ann, moved to Guelph, Ontario. The Munschs have three children: Julie, Andrew, and Tyya (see them all in Something Good!).