________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 18. . . .May 1, 2009


B is for Bluenose: A Nova Scotia Alphabet.

Susan Tooke.
Chelsea, MI: Sleeping Bear Press, 2008.
40 pp., hardcover, $19.95.
ISBN 978-1-58536-362-9.

Subject Headings:
Nova Scotia-Juvenile literature.
Alphabet books-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-6 / Ages 7-11.

Review by Lisa Doucet.

***½ /4



G is for Glooscap (Klooscap)

Into the rock so long ago,symbols were carved where waters flowof Mi'kmaq spirits and cultures vast;from elder down to child they're passed.

The Mi'kmaq have lived lived for thousands of years in what is now known as the Maritime Provinces. In Mi'kmaq spiritual belief, the Creator made the world, with all its plants, birds, and animals. Then the Creator caused lightning to strike the sand and the spiritual being Glooscap was created. Glooscap, this gigantic, superhuman being, is the centre of many creation stories that have been passed down through generations.

Mi'kmaw artist Alan Syliboy finds inspiration for his work in the Mi'kmaq petroglyphs (rock drawings) found in the ancient rock of Nova Scotia. Alan's pride in his heritage and his interest in Mi'kmaq spiritualism are evident in his art-a celebration of family and culture he shares with his son and grandson, pictured wit him in the illustration.

Notable Mi'kmaq include poet Rita Joe, activist Anna Mae Aquash, hockey player Chad Denny, and fiddler Lee Cremo.


This recent addition to the burgeoning collection of Canadian themed alphabet books shares the same format as its predecessors which include M is for Maple: A Canadian Alphabet and C is for Chinook: An Alberta Alphabet to name but two. Each letter is given a full page or a double-page spread in which a four line poem describes the selected word for the given letter while the accompanying sidebar goes on to give a more detailed description of the word in question. Informative and elegant in design, the book is more of a celebration of the wonders of Nova Scotia than it is a primer for learning one's letters. It is a beautiful gift book for readers of any age to introduce them to Nova Scotia's rich cultural, historical and natural heritage. It is also a shining reminder to Nova Scotia natives of the many and varied reasons that we are so proud to call this province home.Tooke has done a remarkable job of combining many of the aspects of Nova Scotia that are widely recognized with lesser-known elements of Nova Scotia life. While "bagpipes," "Cape Breton," "nor'easters" and "tall ships" are frequently associated with our province, the "dykes" that were first built by the Acadians and the "leatherback turtles" that are so passionately protected by the Nova Scotia Leatherback Turtle Working Group are two very different achievements that typify the spirit of Nova Scotians past and present. internal artThe sumptuous illustrations vividly render all of these nuances of Nova Scotia's life and its people, and they work beautifully with the carefully-researched text to create a rich visual and written portrait of Nova Scotia, a loving tribute that captures the beauty of the land, the diversity of its people, its abundant natural gifts and its proud history. Chock full of interesting information, it is a book that will be very useful in school and classroom libraries but which will likely finds its niche as a gift book for those wishing to share a piece of Nova Scotia. It is a fine new offering in this series.


Lisa Doucet is a children's bookseller at Woozles in Halifax...and a proud Nova Scotian.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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