________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 20 . . . . May 30, 2008


The Story of Canada. Rev. Ed.

Janet Lunn & Christopher Moore. Illustrated by Alan Daniel.
Toronto, ON: Key Porter, 2007.
335 pp., pbk., $34.95.
ISBN 978-1-55263-928-3.

Subject Heading:
Canada-History-Juvenile literature.
Canada-Biography-Juvenile literature.

Grades 6-9 / Ages 11-14.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

**** /4


In 2004, it was something special to find a flash of crimson on the coins you got in your change. The colourful coin was a special commemorative issue, a twenty-five cent piece with a red poppy in the centre, circulated by the Canadian Mint that year to salute Canada’s war dead and our veterans. But the next year, several visiting American army contractors, finding these “strange looking coins” in their pockets, reported them to the U.S. Department of Defense. That department briefly suspected that the poppies were tiny radio frequency transmitters, and the coins were spy money, planted on the contractors in order to spy on them.


In this newly revised fourth edition, Lunn and Moore take readers on a historical journey from the Ice Age and the time of Canada’s first peoples to the present day (2007) in which a multicultural Canada, with a population of over 30 million, is part of the global village and competes on the international stage. The book is divided into 10 chapters and features such topics as exploration, the fur trade, colonization, battles and wars, native groups, Confederation, government, the contributions of Prime Ministers and other Canadians, the importance of the buffalo, immigration waves, and the post-war years. Events such as the Gold Rush, the Halifax Explosion, the building of the railway, Winnipeg’s 1919 Strike, and the Great Depression, as well as the formation of the Hudson’s Bay and North-West companies and the North-West Mounted Police are covered. In the final chapter, the authors discuss the impact that the baby boomers and immigrants have had on Canada and the type of lifestyle that modern day Canadians enjoy. Here, readers will learn about hockey’s “greatest goal,” heroes such as Terry Fox and Rick Hansen, sports and music stars, artists, and the popular TV shows, Little Mosque on the Prairie and Corner Gas.

     Interspersed throughout the book are legends, fact boxes which provide further information, and personal anecdotes. One such reflection is written by a woman who, at nine years of age, had the privilege of seeing the king and queen on the deck of the royal train. Earlier in the day, she had gone with her family to see the royal couple at a walkabout, and she thought they didn’t look very regal in their “normal” clothes. Later in the day, her mother took her for lunch and dinner while her father mysteriously disappeared. As it turns out, her dad was busy trying to find out when the king and queen would be on the train, and he made special arrangements for his daughter to be near the tracks at the very moment that the couple, the king in full dress suit with all his medals and the queen in a long white brocade gown and a diamond tiara, stepped outside. The royal couple waved to the young girl, and to her, the experience was a priceless and unforgettable gift from her father. Stories like these, as well as the authors’ descriptions of the daily life of the people throughout the ages, are what makes history come alive in this book.
     The text is well-researched and both compelling and engaging. It is often infused with a bit of humour, one example being the story of the “Loyalist” cow that was sold by a farmer in Queenston to a farmer in Lewiston in the U.S. Apparently, the cow became homesick and swam home across a rushing river, earning her the moniker, “Loyalist cow” (and no word on what she was called in Lewiston).

     Illustrations consist of maps, line drawings, coloured drawings, political cartoons, and both colour and black and white archival photographs- some of them of artifacts, posters and paintings. A table of contents, an index and a chronology, dating from 75 million years ago to the present, are included.

     An excellent resource for a classroom and a public or school library, and a great read for Canadian history buffs.

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.

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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
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