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Queen of the Toilet Bowl

by Frieda Wishinsky

Bullying, jealousy, and gossip are central themes in this dialogue-driven novel by Toronto author Frieda Wishinsky. Renata, a Brazilian immigrant, inadvertently angers a schoolmate by winning the coveted role of Maria in the high school production of The Sound of Music and finds herself the target of a nasty gossip campaign. Renata’s thoughts and actions show her to be a likeable, straightforward character with the usual adolescent worries about fitting in and finding her place in the world.

As part of the new Orca Currents series of low-vocabulary/high-interest novels, this book is aimed at 10- to 14-year-old girls who have a Grade 3 to 4 reading level. Short chapters, controlled vocabulary, and recognizable characters make it possible for readers to get into the action and move through the story in no time.

While the story concludes in a meaningful way, with all the loose ends tied up neatly, Renata’s nemesis, Karin, undergoes a sudden change of heart that’s questionable considering she’s never shown a hint of compassion or likeability. It’s a minor point in the conclusion, amounting to three short sentences, but it rings false.

Wishinsky’s novel demands attention – from the neon toilet bowl cover art to the intriguing title to its ultra-slim size. It’s a design combination that works well to attract reluctant readers, which is the intention of the series. While the story itself doesn’t break new thematic ground, it delivers what any good hi-lo reader should: a fast, manageable read, along with relevant age-appropriate themes and an absorbing storyline.


Reviewer: Carol L. MacKay

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers


Price: $9.95

Page Count: 112 pp

Format: Paper

ISBN: 1-55143-364-8

Released: March

Issue Date: 2005-7


Age Range: 10-14

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