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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Arthur and the Ice Rink
by Johanne Mercier
Age Range: 6-8
Arthur, the narrator of the story is seven years old and he likes to stay with his grandparents near Picket Lake in the summer, although he gets a bit bored when he goes there in the winter. This year it is colder and icier than normal. Grandpa tells Arthur about the time he won a medal in the Great Crossing of Picket Lake and Arthur is desperate to go ice skating. It is left to Cousin Eugene to come up with an idea.
The ‘Arthur’ stories by French Canadian author Johanne Mercier are full of quirky characters and understated humour. Everything is seen through Arthur’s eyes which will appeal directly to young readers. The language is easily accessible to children but contains a degree of irony that will be enjoyed by adults too, and this is due in no small part to an excellent translation by award-winning translator Daniel Hahn. The amusing black and white illustrations by Clare Elsom help to accentuate the wit of the text.
This series of stories about Arthur are sure to become a firm favourite with any seven-year-old. Each story is separate but many of the themes follow on to the next book so it is a good idea to start with book one - Arthur and the Mystery of the Egg. Other titles in the series are: Arthur and the Earthworms, Arthur and Guard Dog,Arthur and the Yeti and Arthur and the Witch