________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 34 . . . . May 7, 2010

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Animals. (Symbols of Canada).

Deborah Lambert, editor.
Calgary, AB: Weigl, 2010.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $12.95 (pbk.), $23.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55388-930-4 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55388-924-3 (hc.).

Subject Headings:
Animals-Canada-Juvenile literature.
Signs and symbols-Canada-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Mary Thomas.

** /4

   
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Trees. (Symbols of Canada).

Deborah Lambert, editor.
Calgary, AB: Weigl, 2010.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $12.95 (pbk.), $23.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55388-929-8 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55388-923-6 (hc.).

Subject Headings:
Provincial trees-Canada-Juvenile literature.
Signs and symbols-Canada-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Mary Thomas.

** /4

   
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Flowers. (Symbols of Canada).

Deborah Lambert, editor.
Calgary, AB: Weigl, 2010.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $12.95 (pbk.), $23.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55388-931-1 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55388-925-0 (hc.).

Subject Headings:
Provincial flowers-Canada-Juvenile literature.
Signs and symbols-Canada-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Mary Thomas.

** /4

   
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Capital Cities. (Symbols of Canada).

Deborah Lambert, editor.
Calgary, AB: Weigl, 2010.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $12.95 (pbk.), $23.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55388-926-7 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55388-920-5 (hc.).

Subject Headings:
Capitals(Cities)-Canada-Juvenile literature.
Canada-History, Local-Juvenile literature.
Signs and symbols-Canada-Juvenile literature
.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Mary Thomas.

** /4

   
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Coats of Arms. (Symbols of Canada).

Deborah Lambert, editor.
Calgary, AB: Weigl, 2010.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $12.95 (pbk.), $23.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55388-928-1 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55388-922-9 (hc.).

Subject Headings:
Heraldry-Canada-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Mary Thomas.

** /4

   
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Flags. (Symbols of Canada).

Deborah Lambert, editor.
Calgary, AB: Weigl, 2010.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $12.95 (pbk.), $23.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55388-927-4 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55388-921-2 (hc.).

Subject Headings:
Flags-Canada-Provinces-Juvenile literature.
Signs and symbols-Canada-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Mary Thomas.

** /4

excerpt:

A symbol is an item that stands for something else. Objects, artworks, or living things can all be symbols. Every Canadian province and territory has official symbols. These items represent the people, history, and culture of the provinces and territories. Symbols of the provinces and territories create feelings of pride and citizenship among the people who live there. A flag is a type of emblem. Each of the ten provinces and three territories has an official flag. This is one of many symbols a province or territory can have. (From Flags.)

In 1870, Manitoba became the fifth province of the Dominion of Canada. That same year, Winnipeg was chosen as the provincial capital. Located in the southeastern part of the province, the city sits at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers. The name Winnipeg comes from the Cree words meaning "muddy water," referring to Lake Winnipeg, which is 65 kilometres north of the city. (From Capital Cities.)

 

As can be seen, there are six books in this series, and they contain enough material for perhaps three books. There is enormous overlap in the general discussion and map which comes at the beginning of each volume, in the glossaries which define many of the same terms, and the web sites which are all governmental and comprehensive. It would have been very easy to combine Flags and Coats of Arms, for example, particularly as the latter are included in 10 of the 12 provincial flags.

     That having been said, the separate books do have some advantages in a classroom where different groups may be working on different aspects of the same topic. The books also give the opportunity to include a great many more very attractive photographs. Our country is gorgeous! It struck me as interesting that these official symbols are almost all relatively recently adopted. Nova Scotia got its provincial flag in 1929 and Quebec in 1948, but most of the others were made official in the second half of the twentieth century. Flowers and animals have been adopted even more recently, I suspect as a result of the "branding" required by the tourist industry!

     There is some inattention to detail as well as some outright errors in the books. You cannot say, on page 20 of Flags, that "Quebec was the first province to officially adopt a provincial flag. It was adopted on January 21, 1948", having already said, on page 16, that Nova Scotia's flag "was officially adopted in 1929". In Trees, it is stated that "the tamarack is the only conifer that sheds its needles in this way", i.e., in the fall, when in fact, the tamarack is only one species of the larch family, all of which shed their needles in the fall.

     Many of the provinces have not actually adopted an official animal; the fact that they are "home to many animals" is not sufficient and says nothing other than that there are wild areas in every province. Thus, the actual information contained in the Animals volume is very slight.

     As I have said, the books are attractive. The text is simple, and the pictures are lovely. Each book begins with a map of Canada which shows the provinces outlined, labelled and differently coloured. The content of the following pages, therefore, can be identified by the shape and colour of the province shown in the upper right-hand corner of the page. The first paragraph of each page is devoted to the history of the particular symbol with respect to the particular province, and then the following paragraphs indicate its importance and/or significance. In some of the books, there is also an entry for Canada as a whole, and there are some general bits of information as well. There is a fine description of the parts of a flower and of a tree, for example. The elements of a proper coat of arms are identified and named. I am sure that many people would not know that the rampant animals on either side of the shield in a coat of arms are technically called "supporters." This is explained in the text, but, strangely, is not in the glossary for the volume.

     I would not have thought of considering capital cities as "symbols" of their provinces, but, in fact, they are, and the Capital Cities book is one of the more useful ones in the series. The format of each entry is rather different from the other volumes of the series in that each starts with a paragraph detailing when the province became part of Canada and where the capital city is located. (A dot on the map at the top of the page would have been even more helpful!) The following paragraphs give the geographical area of the city, its population (no reference date given), and two or three points of interest about it, such as the etymology of the name and why it was chosen as the capital of the province. Ottawa gets a four-page spread, including a picture of the parliament buildings, with labels indicating the West Block, the Peace Tower, etc. and their most important contents. Since the names are often used in other contexts, students might be interested to see what the buildings look like from the outside.

     All in all, however, these are nice-looking books which have not been carefully enough either thought out or executed. Too bad.

Recommended with reservations.

Mary Thomas works in an elementary school library 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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