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Children's Fiction Friendship

Mr Karp's Last Glass /hc

by (author) Cary Fagan

illustrated by Selcuk Demirel

Groundwood Books Ltd
Initial publish date
Mar 2008
Friendship, Humorous Stories
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2008
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Out of print

This edition is not currently available in bookstores. Check your local library or search for used copies at Abebooks.

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 8 to 10
  • Grade: 3 to 5
  • Reading age: 8 to 10


Young Randolph has two favorite pastimes -- hockey and collecting. When his family rents out part of their house, Mr. Karp takes over two rooms on the third floor, and Randolph soon learns that the new boarder is a collector too.

It turns out that Mr. Karp collects water -- samples that he keeps in glass containers, each one carefully labeled: Ditch water from St. Louis, Missouri, after the tornado of 1896. Pitcher used by Benito Mussolini to throw water in face of army private during tantrum, 1941. Randolph is astonished to learn that Mr. Karp is just one of many water collectors, and the only thing preventing him from being the foremost water collector in his region is a rival named Ravelson. To beat Ravelson, Mr. Karp heads to Japan to obtain a unique sample -- melted snow taken from the upturned hat of Napoleon Bonaparte during the Russian campaign.

About the authors

Cary Fagan is the author of eight previous novels and five books of short stories, including The Student, Great Adventures for the Faint of Heart, and A Bird's Eye. He has been nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Writers' Trust Fiction Award, the Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction, and has won the Toronto Book Award and the Canadian Jewish Book Award for Fiction. He is also an acclaimed writer of books for children, having won the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, the IODE Jean Throop Book Award, a Mr. Christie Silver Medal, the Joan Betty Stuchner—Oy Vey!—Funniest Children's Book Award, and the Vicky Metcalf Award for Literature for Young People. Fagan's work has been translated into French, Italian, German, Dutch, Spanish, Catalan, Turkish, Russian, Polish, Chinese, Korean and Persian. He still lives in his hometown of Toronto.

Cary Fagan's profile page

Selcuk Demirel was born in Artvin, Turkey, in 1954. He moved to Paris in 1978 and still lives there. Visit Selcuk Demirel's website:

Selcuk Demirel's profile page


  • Long-listed, Andersen's Award

Editorial Reviews

...the only prerequisite for enjoying Mr. Karp's Last Glass is an ability to read, whatever your age...There is an internal consistency and believability that will draw readers along, most often with a smile on their faces...Cary Fagan has created an entertaining, imaginative, and fun story that will appeal to a wide audience for many years.


[Mr. Karp's Last Glass reads] almost like a younger reader's Brian Doyle. The writing is sharp, witty and quirky, featuring both pointed narrative and almost obsessive detail, like any good collector...And the list of water origins is both hilarious and educational in a fun way...This book is sure to bring a smile to any thoughtful young boy or girl and pique the sense of humour of anyone to whom it is read aloud. Highly Recommended.

CM Magazine

Librarian Reviews

Mr. Karp’s Last Glass

The two things that Randolph enjoys most in life are hockey and collecting. When his family rents out part of their house to Mr. Karp, Randolph learns Mr. Karp is a collector, too. But what does he collect? Stamps? Spoons? Shrunken heads? Randolph decides he must find out.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2009.

Other titles by Cary Fagan

Other titles by Selcuk Demirel