The Other Author Arthur


96 pages
ISBN 1-895900-20-4
DDC jC813'.54





Illustrations by Jill Quinn
Reviewed by Anne Hutchings

Anne Hutchings, a former elementary-school teacher-librarian with the
Durham Board of Education, is an educational consultant.


Young readers in late primary and early junior grades will delight in
this slapstick comedy of mistaken identities.

The students of Upper Millidocket Elementary School (Umees) are looking
forward to their very first author visit from Arthur T. Inkpen. The
long-awaited day dawns, but the furnace in the school has broken down.
Mr. Bob, the custodian, calls for help. When a stranger arrives, dressed
in bright green and orange overalls with “Mr. Fix-It” written on the
pocket, it is easy to see why Mr. Bob thinks he is the furnace repairman
(in fact, it is Arthur T. Inkpen dressed as his most famous character)
and ushers him into the furnace room. Soon after, a second overall-clad
stranger, another Arthur, arrives and is mistaken for Arthur the author.
Eventually, all the mix-ups and misunderstandings are sorted out and the
story is brought to a satisfying conclusion, leaving the students of
Upper Millidocket—and the reader—with a greater awareness of the
need for precise English, as well as looking forward to their next
Author Visit.

The many twists and turns of the plot, plays on words, and
misunderstandings will bring groans and giggles. The names of some of
the teachers—Mrs. Reed, the librarian; Miss Onyermark, the gym
teacher; and Mrs. Graves, who rarely smiles—will be particularly
amusing. Students will appreciate the Canary Wilson—Budge Wilson and
The Horse That Mooed—The Cat That Barked parallels. Unfortunately, the
author resorts to stereotyping to add humor; her caricatures include the
absent-minded writer and the librarian who says little apart from
“Shhhh.” Jill Quinn’s charming illustrations, especially the
little mouse at the beginning of each chapter, add to the enjoyment of
the story.

This short, comical novel would be a welcome addition to collections on
the lookout for chapter books for early readers. It would also be an
excellent read-aloud for classes about to embark on an author visit.


Fitch, Sheree., “The Other Author Arthur,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 24, 2024,