________________ CM . . . . Volume XI Number 18 . . . .May 13, 2005


The Kids Book of Canadian Prime Ministers. (1st rev. ed.).

Pat Hancock. Illustrated by John Mantha.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2005.
56 pp., cloth, $19.95.
ISBN 1-55337-740-0.

Subject Heading:
Prime ministers-Canada-Biography-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4



In 1942, afraid that some Japanese Canadians might not stay loyal to Canada, the government ordered them to leave their homes and live in special camps until the war was over. That same year, King held a special vote, or plebiscite, asking Canadians to release him from his promise not to force Canadians into military service overseas. Most Quebeckers voted against conscription, but an overall majority of Canadians said yes. King tried to make do with volunteers, but in late 1944 he agreed with military advisers that conscription was necessary.


In this updated and revised edition, readers will learn about Canada's 21 prime ministers, from Sir John A. Macdonald to Paul Martin. The book begins with two chapters explaining, in fairly simple terms, how government works. Topics include federal elections, the office of the Governor General, the House of Commons, the Senate and the Cabinet as well as the various roles that a prime minister plays—from Member of Parliament, party leader, government leader and Cabinet leader to his or her role on the international stage. The remainder of the book is devoted to the prime ministers, themselves, with one chapter allotted for each. Chapters vary in length, depending on the contributions and popularity of the person featured. To sustain the reader's interest, the author presents the information in a variety of ways. "Quick Facts" boxes provide the PM's date of birth, political affiliation, occupation, name of spouse and number of children, political positions held and the dates of office, and, in most cases, the date of death. Interesting anecdotes, quotes from the PMs and occasional "Did you know " boxes prevent the text from being too dry. When discussing potentially controversial issues, the author tries to maintain neutrality, just giving the facts in a way that youngsters will understand. At the back of the book is a time line which not only lists the prime ministers and their dates of office, but also highlights important events and/or contributions which occurred during their stint in Ottawa. For example, during the time that Louis St. Laurent served as PM, the Korean War began and ended and the Department of Northern Affairs was established. A table of contents and an index are also provided.

     The text is fairly easy for students to comprehend and is enhanced with coloured illustrations ranging from portraits of the PMs (good likenesses, too) to maps and scenes from Canada's rich history.


Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian at Bird's Hill School in East St. Paul, MB.

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

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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
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