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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Smile! by Geraldine McCaughrean

What is the title "Smile!" doing on a book that has an aiplane crash on the first page? An airplane crashes on a remote desert. The survivor is a photgrapher and he only has ten pictures left on his instant camera. Flash, the survivor, quickly learns how he can impress the natives with his camera. He seeks the advice of the Village Elder about what should be photographed. The Village Elder wisely lets Flash decide for himself. The people consider the instant pictures to be magic paintings. It is ironic that the one picture he really wants to take is interupted. He has his priorities straight and instead takes a keepsake picture for the people of the village.

Geradine McCaughrean offers a rich variety of names: Finchow, Olu, Sutira, Tixa, etc. Do you think McCaughrean used the word "liquor" too often? Do you think the primitives were consistently portrayed throughout the book? The excitement of the book is enhanced by the countdown of the photographs. She counts down the photographs without dwelling on the number itself. She uniquely includes a cow in one of the photographs. Another example is a picture of the local beauty with feet bigger than Flash's boots. Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.

You will instantly appreciate how well the story is developed. The story leaves you with a lot to think about even though it really is finished in a flash! Tchuck!

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