________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 7 . . . . November 21, 2008

cover Maple Leaf Forever? The Warts & All Story of Canada's Creation.

Paul Keery. Illustrated by Mike Wyatt.
Toronto, ON: JackFruit Press, 2008.
72 pp., pbk., $19.95.
ISBN 978-0-897325-19-3.

Subject Headings:
Canada-History-Confederation, 1867-Juvenile literature.
Constitutional history-Canada-Juvenile literature.

Grades 6-9 / Ages 11-14.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

***½ /4

Reviewed from Prepublication copy.


The Islanders' big problem was the absentee landlords in Britain. If the new federal government was not going to spend the money to help the farmers of PEI — and most Islanders were farmers — what good was it?

In May 1866, the PEI assembly voted for a resolution that said "any federal union of the North American colonies that would embrace this island would be hostile to the feelings and the wishes as it would be opposed to the best and most vital interests of its people." In October 1866, Tilley and Tupper made an offer of $800,000 to buy out the landowners, but it was too late.

PEI said no to Confederation.


Part of the Warts & All series, Maple Leaf Forever? not only chronicles the events leading up to Confederation in 1867, but also highlights the politicians and other key players who figured prominently in Canada's creation and expansion and the development of the BNA Act (now known as the Constitution Act). The cleverly designed cover shows a perspiring Sir John A. Macdonald balancing on one foot on top of a westbound train while he tries to balance building blocks on his other foot and on his hands, each block representing one of the provinces. Throughout the book are other witty drawings like this one as well as maps, illustrations and archival photographs. Author Paul Keery is thorough in his approach, providing plenty of detailed information in a manner that middle school students will easily understand.

     Some of the topics in the 13 chapters include the reasons for Confederation, the struggles, the various conferences held, the American colonies and civil war, and the roles of the federal and provincial governments as outlined in the Constitution Act. To further engage readers, there are two special features in the book: "State of the Union?" shows a former leader and what he might think of a current issue facing Canada (for example, Charles Tupper is saying, "I was right about protecting French rights. Maybe there'd be no Separatists at all if you'd all listened to me!" The second feature is a "What If?" cartoon strip which requires some creative thinking on the part of readers, asking them to imagine different outcomes to some important historical events (for instance, what if the South had won the American civil war, or what if Louis Riel had not executed Thomas Scott?). Text boxes provide additional information. A table of contents, a glossary, an index and a list of books and web sites for further study are included.

     A great book for history buffs.

Highly Recommended.

Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

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

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