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COLOMBO'S CANADIANA QUIZ BOOK

John Robert Colombo.

Saskatoon, Western Producer Prairie Books, c1983.
202pp, paper, $9.95.
ISBN 0-88833-114-2.


Grades 4 and up.
Reviewed by Adèle Ashby.

Volume 12 Number 1
1984 January


I once told John Robert Colombo that I thought of him as a worker bee making its way through a field of propagating Canadian flowers. Everything sticks. This book is the result of years of fruitful foraging. Colombo wants Canadians to become more aware of themselves, and to that end he has devised over two thousand questions, covering 165 topics, which are organized within forty-one categories, from "Abbreviations" and "Agriculture" to "Women," "Work," and "World." The questions call for general knowledge of people, places, and things "characteristic of this country, if not unique to it." There are multiple choice, mix and match, fill in the blank, true and false, identification, correspondence, and recognition questions. There are also quizzes based on photographs, drawings, word mazes, and scrambles. A few samples:

From "Arts and Crafts," "Claude Levi-Strauss said: 'I consider the culture of the produced an art on a par with that of Greece or Egypt.'"

From "Awards and Honours," "Saul Bellow, the novelist, is the first Canadian citizen to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. True or false. "Innumerable Numbers" asks for the meaning of "5BX," "Six Nations," and "Seven Oaks," and "Stars Across Canada" asks you to identify the film in which "Laurence Olivier as Johnny Trapper speaks with a French-Canadian accent and says 'The Poles? I thought all the Poles was in Canada. Ha ha!'"

The questions are fun, informative, thought-provoking, and aimed at the widest possible audience. To reach it, Colombo makes suggestions on ways they can be adapted to groups of varying ages in his excellent preface. Canadians have a passion for quizzes. Roy Ward Dickson claims to be the first user of the word in its current meaning. Trivial Pursuit has made its Canadian designers rich. A copy of the Canadiana Quiz Book should be on the shelves of every library in Canada-institutional and personal.


Adèle Ashby, Toronto, ON.
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