Do You Want Fries with That?

by Martyn Godfrey,
160 pages,
ISBN: 0590246992

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Children`s Books
by Marilyn Andrews

Intended to appeal to the ten- to twelve-year-old set, this is the story of Brittany Prentice and her friend, Laura, who fly to Miami to meet Brittany's father and spend the March break with him. Because Brittany's mother and father are divorced, her visits with her father are infrequent and the author does have some success in capturing the awkwardness of a father and daughter who do not have daily contact and who are not attuned to the inevitable changes in their personalities and lifestyles.

Laura, Britt's best friend, has a flair for making inappropriate comments and for being totally single-minded in her pursuit of Justin Adams, their favourite TV idol. The story culminates (and not a moment too soon) with Britt saving the life of a young drowning victim who also lives with Justin's chaperone.

Unfortunately, I feel that this is the very worst kind of writing for this early teen stage and simply perpetuates the stereotype of the silly giggling near-teen mentality, where girls think only of their magazine and TV idols and proceed to swoon and grow weak at the very sight of one of them. Although Mr. Godfrey no doubt feels that his young readers will identify more closely with the characters he has created, I see it as a blatant gender issue.girls are silly, say and do stupid things (including kissing their pillows), and can't get along with their parents, while boys are inevitably cool, self-possessed, and unfailingly polite.

This is not an appropriate book for the young unless it is used in the context of "how not to write about pre-teens" and followed by a discussion about stereotyping. l

Marilyn Andrews has worked in education for twenty-five years, and is administrator for The York School in Toronto.


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