A Fine Day for Drool


116 pages
ISBN 1-55028-460-6
DDC jC813'.54




Illustrations by Daniel Shelton
Reviewed by Kelly L. Green

Kelly L. Green is the co-editor of the Children’s Literature edition
of the Canadian Book Review Annual.


Kiff, Josie, and Odie are having a regular summer at Big Pickle Lake,
canoeing, grooming and riding their horses, and bickering. This summer a
new girl named Dee joins them with her big red dog, Drool. Dee’s
parents are archaeologists working at old Fort James, a place Kiff has
been desperate to see. When Josie and Dee go off with Drool in a canoe
to explore Fort James on their own, Kiff and Odie decide to take a
shortcut with the horses and follow them. The adventures that follow
include horse theft, capsized canoes, and a scary evening alone at the
old fort.

In her fourth Kiff and Josie book, Siamon has created a well-paced,
believable adventure story with some good historical detail as an added
bonus. Certain aspects of the story are annoying and unrealistic,
however. The constant, almost malicious bickering between Kiff and Josie
is just as irritating to read as it would be to hear; rather than add to
the story, it distracts the reader. Kiff, in fact, is a singularly
mean-spirited child much of the time, and it is hard to care much about
such a character. The children’s dialogue often smacks of sit-com
precociousness, and feels less than true. And how is it that these
children are so free of any adult supervision that they can get
themselves into life-threatening situations, such as canoeing with a dog
in a storm while wearing no life jackets? Disbelief cannot be suspended
to the point of accepting that children who have grown up living on a
lake would have such poor water-safety habits. These problems weaken
what is otherwise a fine adventure story. Recommended with reservations.


Siamon, Sharon., “A Fine Day for Drool,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 17, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/31312.