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Waiting for Pelly

by David Glaze

David Glaze’s Waiting for Pelly features a girl who spends the spring and summer in Saskatoon hoping to reunite with a special pelican. Building on its predecessor, Pelly, in which protagonist Sandra befriends and communicates with a young pelican, the novel narrates in alternating chapters Sandra’s wait for the bird and Pelly’s return to the area to mate and nest. The two meet again in the book’s concluding chapters, with Sandra feeding both Pelly and her hatchling.

Because Glaze packs so much information about ecology, pelicans, and other wildlife into the story, this book, like the original, will work well in the classroom. But the well-intentioned story becomes mired in subplots and loses its focus. In addition to searching for Pelly, Sandra deals with intrusive neighbours and battles over gardens; a mysterious cat who may or may not be Sandra’s missing pet disturbs the neighbourhood yards; Sandra spends time at the Redberry Lake pelican research station with a college student, and gets caught in a storm while out in a canoe. These narratives compete with the Sandra-Pelly storyline for our attention, and the limited space of the book’s 120 pages means that none of the characters or plots can be fully realized. The story’s heavy reliance on the original novel may also be alienating to new readers. Without a clear narrative trajectory, the novel takes too long to meander to its sweet but rather undramatic finish and leaves readers too distracted to cheer about the pelican-child reunion.


Reviewer: Laurie Mcneill

Publisher: Coteau Books


Price: $7.95

Page Count: 120 pp

Format: Paper

ISBN: 1-55050-190-9

Issue Date: 2003-5


Age Range: ages 8-12