________________ CM . . . . Volume XI Number 7 . . . . November 26, 2004


Canadian Leaders. (Scholastic Canada Biographies).

Maxine Trottier. Illustrated by Alan and Lea Daniel.
Markham, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2004.
46 pp., pbk., $5.99.
ISBN 0-439-96104-1.

Subject Heading:
Canada-Biography-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-5 / Ages 7-10.

Review by Harriet Zaidman.

**½ /4


Joseph organized a force of about three hundred warriors and a hundred settlers that was called Brant’s Volunteers. He was made a captain, but preferred to fight as a war chief. Raiding across the northern frontier, he and his men not only fought for the British Crown, but helped both Native and non-Native Loyalists to escape.

Maxine Trottier has contributed a fifth book to the “Scholastic Canada Biographies” series which is aimed at young children with an emerging interest in history. As she did in her other volumes about inventors, stars, etc., Trottier discusses the subject of each chapter by his/her first name. In Canadian Leaders, the Canadians profiled are Jeanne Mance, Joseph Brant, Sir John A. Macdonald, Sir Sam Steele, and Pierre Trudeau.

     Each individual is accorded a 10-page chapter, which includes reprints of original drawings and colour illustrations of important moments. As black and white photographs were being introduced in Sir John A. Macdonald’s lifetime, they are used in his chapter, with colour photographs appearing for Pierre Trudeau’s life.

     Biographies are not the first choice of many students who don’t appreciate that all the experiences of a person’s lifetime contribute to his or her significance, not just one event. The individuals profiled helped shape our country. Trottier has tried to present their lives within the framework of the times and explain events according to the attitudes that existed. She mentions that promises made to Joseph Brant by the British were not fulfilled and that Sir John A. Macdonald was driven out of office by scandals related to the building of the national railway. Hopefully, a teacher using this curriculum appropriate material will round out the historical picture by teaching students that the conversion of the Natives to the Catholic religion, which Jeanne Mance assisted as a nurse, has been considered by history as a negative activity. Sir Sam Steele is renowned for his bravery as a soldier with the Northwest Mounted Police, but this force was created to subdue the Native and Metis rebellions for the Canadian government.

     This book can serve as a useful adjunct to classroom instruction. The age-appropriate language and direct writing style can be used to promote the book as a read-alone for students, and to promote reading about Canadian history.


Harriet Zaidman 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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