________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 20 . . . .May 25, 2007

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Beware, Pirates! (Canadian Flyer Adventures; 1).

Frieda Wishinsky. Illustrated by Dean Griffiths.
Toronto, ON: Maple Tree Press, 2007.
83 pp., pbk. & cl., $6.95 (pbk.), $16.95 (cl.).
ISBN 978-1-897066-80-5 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-897066-79-9.

Subject Heading:
Frobisher, Martin, Sir, 1535?-1594-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 1-4 / Ages 6-9.

Review by Saache Heinrich.

*** /4

   
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Danger, Dinosaurs! (Canadian Flyer Adventures; 2).

Frieda Wishinsky. Illustrated by Dean Griffiths.
Toronto, ON: Maple Tree Press, 2007.
81 pp., pbk. & cl., $6.95 (pbk.), $16.95 (cl.).
ISBN 978-1-897066-82-9 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-897066-81-2.

Subject Heading:
Dinosaurs-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 1-4 / Ages 6-9.

Review by Saache Heinrich.

*** /4

   

excerpt:

     "Is this your great-aunt?" Matt held up a picture from the back of the drawer. The picture showed a girl on a wooden sled.
     "It is. Look. Great-Aunt Miranda wrote under the picture."

          To Emily
          The sled is yours. Fly it to wonderful adventures.
          Love,

          Great-Aunt Miranda

     "What sled? How can a sled fly? What does that mean?" asked Emily.
     "Maybe it's a magic sled," said Matt.
     Emily laughed, "There's no such thing as a magic sled."
     "But there
is a sled. Right there!" Behind the dresser lay an old red wooden sled with a maple leaf and the words Canadian Flyer painted on it.
     Emily pulled out the sled. "It doesn't look magic to me," she said.
     "Let's sit on it. Maybe something will happen," said Matt.
     Emily sat on the front of the sled. Matt hopped in behind her. They waited for something to happen. But nothing did.
     "I guess it's just a plain old sled," said Matt.
     "No it's not," said Emily, her eyes widening. "Wow!"
     Shimmery gold words were forming around the maple leaf.
     "Awesome!" said Matt.
     Emily read the words aloud:

          Rub the leaf
          Three times fast
          Soon you'll fly
          To the past.

     "This
is magic!" said Emily.
     "Let's check it out,"said Matt.
     Emily smiled. "Here goes!" she said. She rubbed the leaf, three times fast!

- (From Beware, Pirates! )

 

The "Canadian Flyer Adventures" is a new chapter book series by award-winning children's author Frieda Wishinsky. This fictional series accompanies two kids, Matt and Emily, as they travel back into historical Canada via an antique magical sled. In the first installment, Beware, Pirates!, Matt and his new neighbour Emily discover the magic sled during an exploration of the tower at the top of the house that Emily has moved into, a house once belonging to her great-aunt Miranda. In the top drawer of a dresser, they discover a collection of articles including rocks, a big hat, a large egg, and a piece of rope. Each is itemized with a note in great-aunt Miranda's handwriting. These items foreshadow Matt and Emily's future adventures and supply the reader with a glimpse into what is to come in future titles.

     Matt and Emily are first transported back in time to 1577 where, along with the usual pirate-types, they meet the infamous Captain Martin Frobisher. Readers learn that Frobisher was a privateer, someone who looted enemy ships for Queen Elizabeth I of England. Other information is supplied about the Inuit and pirates, giving a mini history lesson within a fictional account. In the second book, Danger, Dinosaurs!, the pair transport to the Alberta Badlands where they learn about the various dinosaurs that roamed during the Cretaceous period all the while trying to escape from a hungry T-rex.

     At the conclusion of both books, readers will find "Emily's Top Ten Facts," "Matt's Top Ten Facts," and "So You Want to Know" from author Frieda Wishinsky. Each of Emily's and Matt's fact sheets are presented in contrasting font styles along with text boxes, giving the impression that each character has personally written her/his own facts. Kids will find these extra tidbits interesting and informative should they choose to continue reading after the story's conclusion.

      Also featured is an opportunity for readers to collect their historical facts and email their favourites to the publisher for the chance to be included in a final top ten list on the "Canadian Flyer Adventures" website. This will no doubt encourage further research and discussion about the pertaining topics.

      This series has both boy and girl appeal. The books are fun to read, full of adventure and provide just the right amount of Canadian history without feeling like a school lesson. Even adults are sure to learn a thing or two about Canadian history! This series would make a great read-aloud choice for parents or teachers, and readers will have a hard time putting the books down.

internal artinternal art      Chapters are short, and the illustrations, wonderfully and accurately drawn by Dean Griffiths, are displayed on half or full pages, nicely breaking up the text while supplying an added sense of adventure. Boys are sure to especially love the illustrations of the ferocious-looking T-rex chasing Emily and Matt across the pages in Danger, Dinosaurs!

      Wishinsky has chosen her subject material very wisely for her first two "Canadian Flyer Adventures" installments as pirates and dinosaurs are a very popular subject matter with a lot of kid appeal. With the third installment, Crazy for Gold due out later this spring and three more titles planned for the fall of 2007, the "Canadian Flyer Adventures" series is a very welcome addition to the historical fiction genre and provides a much-needed Canadian perspective. As a side note, Maple Tree Press has created a wonderful website for the "Canadian Flyer Adventures" with links provided for kids and teachers/librarians that is worth seeing (www.mapletreepress.com/canadianflyeradventures).

Highly Recommended.

Saache Heinrich is a children's services librarian for the Saskatoon Public Library.

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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