________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 12 . . . . February 2, 2007

cover The New Nation. (Prime Ministers of Canada). 

Bev Cline.
Calgary, Weigl (Distributed by Saunders Book Company), 2007. 
32 pp., cloth, $26.95.
ISBN 978-1-55388-247-3 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55388-246-6 (cl.).
 
Subject Headings:
Prime ministers-Canada-Biography-Textbooks.
Canada-History-1867-1914-Juvenile literature.
 
Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13.
 
Review by Gail Hamilton. 

**** /4 

   
   
cover Turn of the 20th Century. (Prime Ministers of Canada). 

Bev Cline.
Calgary, Weigl (Distributed by Saunders Book Company), 2007. 
32 pp., cloth, $26.95.
ISBN 978-1-55388-249-7 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55388-248-0 (cl.).
 
Subject Headings:
Prime ministers-Canada-Biography-Juvenile literature.
Canada-History-1867-1914-Juvenile literature.
 
Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13.
 
Review by Gail Hamilton.
 
**** /4 

   
   
cover Time of Turmoil. (Prime Ministers of Canada). 

Douglas Baldwin & Patricia Baldwin.
Calgary, Weigl (Distributed by Saunders Book Company), 2007. 
32 pp., cloth, $26.95.
ISBN 978-1-55388-251-0 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55388-250-3 (cl.).
 
Subject Headings:
Prime ministers-Canada-Biography-Textbooks.
Canada-History-1963-Textbooks.
 
Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13.
 
Review by Gail Hamilton.
 
**** /4 

   
   
cover Time of Transition. (Prime Ministers of Canada). 

Douglas Baldwin & Patricia Baldwin.
Calgary, Weigl (Distributed by Saunders Book Company), 2007. 
32 pp., cloth, $26.95.
ISBN 978-55388-253-4 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55388-252-7 (cl.).
 
Subject Headings:
Prime ministers-Canada-Biography-Juvenile literature.
Canada-History-1867-1914-Juvenile literature.
 
Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13.
 
Review by Gail Hamilton.
 
**** /4 

   
   
cover Trudeau Era. (Prime Ministers of Canada). 

Douglas Baldwin & Patricia Baldwin.
Calgary, Weigl (Distributed by Saunders Book Company), 2007. 
32 pp., cloth, $26.95.
ISBN 978-1-55388-255-8 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55388-254-1 (cl.).
 
Subject Headings:
Prime ministers-Canada-Biography-Textbooks.
Canada-History-1963-Textbooks.
 
Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13.
 
Review by Gail Hamilton.
 
**** /4 

   
   
cover Contemporary Canada. (Prime Ministers of Canada). 

Bev Cline.
Calgary, Weigl (Distributed by Saunders Book Company), 2007. 
32 pp., cloth, $26.95.
ISBN 978-1-55388-257-2 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55388-256-5 (cl.).
 
Subject Headings:
Prime ministers-Canada-Biography-Juvenile literature.
Canada-History-1867-1914-Juvenile literature.
 
Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13.
 
Review by Gail Hamilton.
 
**** /4
 

excerpt:

The 1968 election campaign was marked by “Trudeaumania.” Trudeau was mobbed by throngs of young people. Teenage girls swooned and screamed at Trudeau’s public appearances. A gang of autograph seekers chased him across Parliament Hill grounds.
 
Trudeau brought youthfulness and a promise of change. He was 48 years old, unwed, and much younger than most politicians of the time. Most thought he was handsome, witty, intelligent, and an exciting speaker. Trudeau was bilingual and a forceful leader.
 
Trudeau had a strong sense of justice and a deep love for Canada. People were impressed by Trudeau’s vision of what he termed “a just society.” In this society, he said, the rights of all Canadians would be respected, and everyone would enjoy the good things of life. Trudeau promised a better world.
(From Trudeau Era).

Canada’s 22 Prime Ministers are featured in this informative six-volume series designed for middle years’ students. All of the books begin with a list of Canadian Prime Ministers grouped by the eras, corresponding to the titles in the series, in which they served, and end with a timeline of events, organized by decades. Within each decade are three sub-categories: Prime Minister, Canada, and The World. For each Prime Minister, there is biographical information covering educational background, personal life, the social fabric and the political mood of the country at the time, the campaign trail, issues faced during tenure and the contributions and legacies of the Prime Minister’s time in office. “Did You Know?” sections provide additional trivia throughout the books while a “Test Your Knowledge” section at the back of the books gives readers a chance to answer some questions about the information they have read. An activity page offers some interesting thought-provoking questions. For example, readers can examine a particular event mentioned in the book and think of a different way of handling it, or they can design a different flag and explain its symbolism. Finally, there is a list of web sites for further study.
 
     The text is fairly easy to comprehend and includes sidebars containing diary and journal entries and quotes, not only from the Prime Ministers themselves, but also from their family members and colleagues. Unbiased and honest, the text describes the Prime Ministers and the issues of the day with fairness and candor. Abundant maps, photographs and illustrations enhance the text. A table of contents, a glossary and an index are provided.
 
     The New Nation covers the time from Confederation to 1896. It describes the life and times of Sir John A. Macdonald and the events leading up to Confederation and the BNA Act. During Macdonald’s tenure, Manitoba, British Columbia and Prince Edward Island joined the four original provinces, land was set aside for national parks, the North West Mounted Police force was established and the Canadian Pacific Railway was completed. Other topics in the book include Aboriginal and Métis issues, the Riel Rebellion and the placement of tariffs on imported goods. The remainder of the book is devoted to the contributions of Alexander Mackenzie, Charles Tupper and John Thompson, some of which include the establishment of the Supreme Court of Canada, the introduction of the secret ballot and door-to-door mail delivery, and the creation of the Criminal Code.
 
     The years 1896-1920 are the focus of Turn of the 20th Century. When Sir Wilfrid Laurier was elected to office, Canada had a booming economy. A charismatic leader and engaging public speaker, Laurier encouraged immigration, created the Yukon Territory and established a fixed boundary between the Yukon and Alaska. Other events and issues during his tenure included the Klondike Gold Rush, the Manitoba Schools Question, and changing attitudes towards women in the workforce. The rest of the book deals with the times of Robert Borden and highlights conscription in World War I, the Battle of Vimy Ridge, women’s suffrage and their ultimately getting the right to vote in 1917, the Spanish Flu pandemic and the Winnipeg General Strike in 1919. Borden’s legacy is income tax, veteran’s benefits and daylight savings time.
 
     Featured in Time of Turmoil (1920-1948) are the pre- and post-war years of WWII. William Lyon Mackenzie King, Canada’s longest serving Prime Minister, who led the country for 22 years, was known, not only for creating unemployment insurance and family allowances, but also for his personal life and his interest in the spirit world. Under his leadership, the Canadian government did not allow Japanese people into Canada after the war. King became the first Canadian citizen under a new rule which made Canada the first Commonwealth country to create its own citizenship. Both Arthur Meighen and Richard Bennett served briefly as Prime Ministers. Bennett had to deal with the problems of the Great Depression, and because the Prairies were the hardest hit by the Depression, his government gave grants to farmers and proposed an 8-hour work day and a minimum wage for workers.
   
     Time of Transition details the events from 1948-1968. The featured Prime Ministers are Louis St. Laurent, John Diefenbaker and Lester Pearson. Under St. Laurent’s leadership, Canadian nationalism gained importance, the Department of Citizenship and immigration was formed, and Vincent Massey was appointed Canada’s first Governor General. The Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union escalated, and St. Laurent brought Canada into NATO and NORAD. He also negotiated with U.S. President Harry Truman to build the St. Lawrence Seaway. During his tenure, Canada participated in the Korean War. John Diefenbaker, often referred to as a champion of minorities, appointed the first female Federal Cabinet Minister, the first Aboriginal senator and convinced his government to accept large numbers of Africans and Asians to Canada as he believed in equality of immigration. The Canadian Bill of Rights was passed in 1960, and Diefenbaker also promoted the development of the Canadian North. His reaction to the Cuban Missile Crisis might have cost him the election in 1962 for his Conservatives formed only a minority government. (One slight error occurs in the section about Diefenbaker: it is stated that in 1961 unemployment in Canada reached 72%). Finally, Lester Pearson served Canada in a number of capacities before becoming Prime Minister. He introduced the new Canadian flag, expanded social welfare policies - especially universal health insurance and the Canada Pension Plan - and sent peacekeepers to various places around the world. In 1957, Pearson was awarded the Nobel Peace prize for his efforts in resolving the Suez Canal crisis.

 
     Trudeau Era chronicles the time from 1968-1984. Pierre Elliott Trudeau was a fashionable, charismatic and controversial leader who was responsible for adopting bilingualism, challenging separatism and passing the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. He gained worldwide respect for his efforts in foreign affairs and was the first Prime Minister to visit Cuba. In this volume, readers will learn about the FLQ and the October Crisis as well. Other Prime Ministers featured in this book are John Turner, who only served for 80 days, and Joe Clark, Canada’s youngest Prime Minister at age 39.
 
     Contemporary Canada covers the years from 1984 to the present. Readers will learn about Brian Mulroney who introduced the dreaded GST, appointed the first Ukrainian-born Governor General, launched NAFTA and imposed a moratorium on the cod fishery in Newfoundland. There is information about the Meech Lake and Charlottetown Accords, the creation of Nunavut and Aboriginal land claims. Other Prime Ministers who served during this time were Kim Campbell, Canada’s first woman Prime Minister who was only in office for four months; Jean Chrétien, whose political service spanned over 40 years; Paul Martin, who established better relations with the United States and also passed the Civil Marriage Act; and the current Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, about whom little is included in this title due to his recent election to office. Chrétien is credited with having a strong connection with Canada’s North and establishing the Arctic Council, working on environmental issues and hosting the APEC Conference and the G8 Summit as well as providing aid to foreign countries.
 
     Though some Prime Ministers will be remembered more fondly than others, each of these individuals has several things in common - pride in being Canadian, a fierce loyalty to this country and its inhabitants and a desire to make Canada a better place to live.
 
     This series is well worthy of purchase.
 
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.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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