________________ CM . . . . Volume XII Number 7 . . . .November 25, 2005


Scholastic Canada Book of Lists.

James Buckley, Robert Stremme and Pat Hancock.
Markham, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2005.
320 pp., pbk., $12.99.
ISBN 0-439-95237-9.

Subject Heading:
Handbooks, vade-mecums, etc.-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-8 / Ages 8-13.

Review by Val Ken Lem.

*** /4



Science chapter. My Gooey Body.

Everyone tells you that your body is mostly water, but there are many types of fluid running though and out of your body. Some of these fluids can be quite messy, but they are all necessary to keep you healthy, lubricated, and moving.

Bile – made by the liver, used to break down fats

Blood – transports nutrients and oxygen to the body cells

Chyme – in the stomach, breaks down food into liquid form

Rhinorrhea – fluid running from your nose

Vomit – stomach fluid ejected from body through the esophagus and the mouth

Fact Box: Rhinorrhea and mucus come flying out of your nose at more than 100 kph (60 mph) when you sneeze. It’s impossible to keep your eyes open when you sneeze – probably to keep Rhinorrhea out of your eyes!


North Americans are constantly encountering lists. Advertisers report the top ten ringtones selected by mobile phone customers; entertainment news programs list top grossing films from the previous week; booksellers post lists of bestselling titles in a plethora of categories, and, if you are like me, you’re constantly updating your grocery list and mental “to do” list. Lists are ubiquitous, and while some are amusing or entertaining, others serve more practical purposes such as a telephone directory or stock quotations in the business papers. Libraries have long stocked reference works like almanacs, yearbooks and dictionaries that contain large amounts of annotated list-like content.

      Special Canadian contributor Pat Hancock has “Canadianized” Buckley Jr. and Stremme’s Scholastic Book of Lists that first appeared in the United States in 2003. Thus we find that a lot of the content in the chapters on history, social studies, and, to a lesser extent, pop culture focuses on Canadian topics such as lists of Governor Generals, Rights and Freedoms (based on the 1982 Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms), and Great Kid’s Books that identifies the English and French winners of the Governor General’s Literary Awards for Children’s literature, both text and illustration, from 1995 to 2004.

      In addition to the topical chapters identified above, the book features the following: the world and the weather, numbers, science, words, the arts, critters, grab bag, and sports. All are detailed in the table of contents. Access is also enhanced by a user-friendly index. Under Canada, the index has 30 entries or cross-references from aboriginal peoples to World Heritage Sites in Canada. These access points will help to ensure that this book has value in a library as a reference tool.

      The cover promises “More than 250 amazing lists of fun facts and weird trivia on almost everything you need to know!” While this may be overstated, the lists are certainly fun and informative. Most are one to two pages in length and begin with a brief introduction to the list and end with an informative fact box that includes additional historical facts, a key word or definition, additional trivia or the odd quiz.

      Some of the lists cry out for more information. In the World & Weather chapter, the entry for Canada A-Z lists the first and last five place names from the Canadian Geographical Names Data Base yet fails to provide a URL for web-savvy readers to explore the rest of the names. In the chapter on Words, under A Writer’s Toolbox, popular writing tools such as allusion, irony, and metaphor are listed and defined, but no examples are provided. Despite the limitations of this type of work, it has something for almost everyone, including a few lists for the owner to fill in such as the grab bag list of My Food.

Scholastic Canada Book of Lists is an affordable, fun title that would also make a great gift.


Val Ken Lem is a catalogue librarian and member of the Collection Services Team at Ryerson University, Toronto, ON.

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

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