MINTON GOES SAILING; MINTON GOES FLYING; MINTON GOES DRIVING; MINTON GOES TRUCKING

Anna Fienberg, Author, Kim Gamble, Illustrator , illus. by Kim Gamble. Allen & Unwin $6.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-86448-592-9 ISBN 978-1-86448-593-6 ISBN 978-1-86448-594-3 ISBN 978-1-86448-595-0

Starring in these four flimsy and somewhat garishly illustrated tales from an Australian duo is black-and-orange polka-dotted Minton, "a beachcombing salamander," and his best buddy, Turtle. In the inaugural book, Minton is determined to explore a distant island and uses a margarine container and other items that wash up on his beach to build a sailboat. When he and Turtle arrive on the island (swimming to shore when the boat capsizes), they meet Bouncer, an acrobat who is there because she had taken an enormous jump during her circus act one day. In the subsequent stories, motion-loving Minton uses recycled materials to build an airplane to transport Bouncer back to her circus in the city; construct a car; and build a dump truck to land a job at a construction site. Cursory instructions for fashioning the vehicles using household materials conclude each of the volumes. The plots do not stand on their own, relying on prior installments to provide crucial context and leaving it to subsequent installments to resolve the conflicts in the abrupt endings. Some expressions may baffle American readers (e.g., Minton's car "puffed and pooped its way" up a hill), and an unfortunate passage in the same book has Turtle asking his friend, "What if your car zooms out of control… and goes crashing into a skyscraper and blows up?" Even discounting that contretemps, these volumes have little to recommend them. Ages 2-6. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 10/29/2001
Release date: 10/01/2001
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