CM . . .
. Volume XV Number 10. . . .January 9, 2009
Canada's Mountain Animals. (Canada Close Up).
Toronto, ON: Scholastic, 2008.
44 pp., pbk., $6.99.
Mountain animals-Canada-Juvenile literature.
Grades 3-5 / Ages 8-10.
Review by Bruce Dyck.
Grizzly bears love berries. In the fall, a single grizzly bear can eat as many as 50, 000 berries in one day.
That's a lot of berries!
Canada's Mountain Animals, an easy to read profile of 10 animals native to three of Canada's Mountain ranges, opens with a basic map of Canada and a one page introduction to the three mountain range habitats covered by the book: the Appalachians, the Western Cordillera, and the Arctic Cordillera. The map is a clear three colour illustration. A key helps to identify Canada, the USA, and the general location of the three appropriate mountain ranges.
The book then devotes one chapter to each of the 10 animals, which, are, in order: Mountain Goat, Grizzly Bear, Bighorn Sheep, Cougar, Elk, Hoary Marmot, Harlequin Duck, Pika, Ermine, and Golden Eagle. Each chapter contains at least three or four colour pictures of the subject animal, and while these are mostly stock photos, they are, for the most part, well chosen.
The text, written in a conversational style, is easy to read and follow. Canada's Mountain Animals does a good job of providing several facts about each of the animals in an engaging manner.
The animals selected for the book are a diverse group, and while I probably would have made a few different choices, this is a personal difference of opinion and not a critique. My feelings in regards to some of the "facts" presented in the book are somewhat different, however. The fact is, a number of the "facts" presented in Canada's Mountain Animals are argumentative at best. This should be an important consideration for teachers who are considering Canada's Mountain Animals as a classroom resource, as a number of these "facts" differ from other sources. For example, Canada's Mountain Animals states: "In Canada, we have three main mountain ranges: the Appalachians, the Western Cordillera, and the Arctic Cordillera." However, according to National Resources Canada, the Western Cordillera is actually a grouping of several mountain ranges including the Rocky Mountains and the Coast Mountains among others.
Another such difference can be seen in the statement "Grizzly bears, or brown bears, are..." While it is true that Grizzly bears are brown bears, the implication of the statement is that all brown bears are Grizzly bears. This is incorrect in that there are several different species of brown bear of which the Grizzly is but one.
There is at least one of these questionable facts in each of the chapters, a very frustrating aspect in what would otherwise be a very good book.
As some of the inaccuracies can be attributed to an effort to keep the book accessible and easy to read, I am inclined to be more forgiving than I might otherwise be; however, these "inaccuracies" do present an issue that requires some serious consideration by educators looking to purchase it as an educational resource.
Recommended with reservations.
Bruce Dyck, of Winnipeg, MB, is currently employed by his wife and two sons as a stay-at-home dad.
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