CM . . . . Volume XV Number 21. . . .June 12, 2009.
A Halifax ABC.
Halifax, NS: Nimbus, 2009.
32 pp., board., $14.95.
Halifax (N.S.)-Pictoral words-Juvenile literature.
Preschool / Ages1-4.
Review by Dave Jenkinson.
As the title explains, Poplawska’s board book focuses on Halifax and uses places, objects and historical events connected to that city in Nova Scotia to provide illustrations of the letters of the alphabet. However, the specific geographic setting does not preclude toddlers “from away” from also enjoying the book’s contents as Poplawska’s examples are both general in nature while also being specifically linked to the city. For example, the letter “Uu” is connected to the word “uniform,” and the young viewer can see two bearskin-hatted, kilt-clad “soldiers”; however, Haligonians will recognize that the pair of reenactors are parading in front of the Halifax Citadel Historic Site. Similarly, youngsters may meet a new term with “Gg gazebo,” but the gazebo being portrayed is not just any gazebo. It’s the one found in the Halifax Public Gardens. Young Canadian TV watchers will make an immediate connection with “Tt tugboat” because they will recognize Theodore Tugboat from the animated series; however, again, Halifax locals will be aware that the tugboat is in front of Murphy’s on the Water, another of Halifax’s tourist sites. A few of the letters do ask a lot of young pre-readers. For instance, without an interceding adult to read the words, youngsters would not likely know that two people, one holding a camera, are “Vv visitors,” but locals would certainly recognize the Old Town Clock, aka the Citadel Clock Tower, which is behind the pair. And any Canadian adult who has studied Canadian history in school will know that the ship exploding in “Ee explosion” is not just any ship, bu that it’s the Mont-Blanc. Poplawska’s art is bright and cheerful and incorporates a level of detail appropriate to its young viewing audience.
A most worthwhile addition to school and public libraries as well as home collections.
Dave Jenkinson, who lives in Winnipeg, MB, far from Halifax, NS, is CM’s editor, had confirmation from his son Dean and daughter-in-law Nicole, who make Halifax their home from September to March, that everything portrayed in A Halifax ABC really does exist!
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