Getting Rid of Mr. Ribitus


65 pages
ISBN 1-895836-53-0
DDC jC813'.54




Illustrations by Barbara Hartmann
Reviewed by Sylvia Pantaleo

Sylvia Pantaleo is an assistant professor of education specializing in
children’s literature at Queen’s University and the co-author of
Learning with Literature in the Canadian Elementary Classroom.


Curtis is not having a good summer. His friends are away on holidays,
there is a water shortage that has led to watering restrictions, and he
is deeply concerned about his pumpkin plant. Then Curtis meets Mr.
Ribitus and things become worse. Mr. Ribitus—a pixie-sized, impolite,
green man—is angry at Curtis for watering his pumpkin and consequently
flooding Mr. Ribitus’s underground home.

Adults are unable to see Mr. Ribitus, so Curtis’s parents become very
concerned about their son when he appears to be talking to an imaginary
creature. Mr. Ribitus’s presence results in Curtis’s telling
falsehoods and getting into a great deal of mischief. Eventually, Curtis
gets some assistance in dealing with Mr. Ribitus from a girl named
Amanda and an elderly neighbor.

Many aspects about Mr. Ribitus are left unexplained, and although young
readers can fill in some gaps, further details are needed to assist them
in constructing plausible explanations. Mr. Ribitus is rude and mean,
and it is difficult to care what happens to this grounddweller. The
ending—a storm uproots a tree and Mr. Ribitus returns to his
underground world—is too convenient and may leave readers wondering,
“So what?” Not recommended.


Lohans, Alison., “Getting Rid of Mr. Ribitus,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 16, 2024,