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Pass It On! by M. Sadler

Sadler, Marilyn. Pass It On! Maplewood, NJ: Blue Apple Books, 2012. Print.

Marilyn Sadler enjoys writing funny children’s stories and has authored over 30 books. Through her role as executive producer and writer for the Disney Channel, Sadler has seen some of her works turned into children’s movies and TV series. In Pass It On! Sadler puts a new spin on the traditional game of Telephone, with comical results.

‘Cow is stuck in the fence! Pass it on!’ Cow’s friend, Bee starts the ball rolling, sending out a plea to the other animals, recruiting their help to rescue Cow.  The original message quickly gets distorted and becomes increasingly absurd, leaving the reader wondering: will anyone come to Cow’s aid?

With its simple plot and humorous characters, this story is fun, engaging, and perfect for shared reading with young children.  Michael Slack, recognized for his humorous character art, shines in this illustrated work. He is skillful in his use of colour and texture, creating expressive depictions of the animals in the story while conveying a sense of urgency and excitement. The typeset used for the comic-book-like speech bubbles differentiates the characters’ speech from narrative aspects of the story and cues the reader to the tone and dynamic of the animals’ pronouncements.

I recently read this to a group of four and five-year-olds, after playing the Telephone game with them. Throughout the story, the children responded with exclamations of, “That’s not right!” and a chorus of, “Pass it on!” as each animal communicated his or her misinterpretation of the message.

Highly recommended: 4 out of 4 stars
Reviewer: Maria Tan

Maria is a Public Services Librarian at the University of Alberta’s H. T. Coutts Education Library. She enjoys travelling and visiting unique and far-flung libraries. An avid foodie, Maria’s motto is, “There’s really no good reason to stop the flow of snacks”.