________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 6 . . . . October 9, 2009


Hey Freddy, It's Canada's Birthday!

Susan Chalker Browne. Illustrated by Hilda Rose.
St. John's, NL: Tuckamore Books, 2009.
32 pp., pbk., $12.95.
ISBN 978-1-897174-39-5.

Subject Headings:
Canada Day-Juvenile fiction.
Flags-Canada-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 1-3 / Ages 6-8.

Review by Alison Mews.

*** /4


The Signal Hill parking lot was packed with people. Freddy leaped from the bus. Behind him, his mom and dad lugged blankets, bottles, backpacks and Baby Clare.

"Whoa!" exclaimed Freddy, looking all around.

An enormous brass band was setting up beside the powder house, everyone wearing striped fleece hats with flopping white tassels. Nearby stood a teenage choir, laughing and drinking hot chocolate. Clowns skipped and bounced, handing out candy and Canadian flags.


Susan Chalker Browne's second book about Freddy takes place on the top of Signal Hill in St. John's, Newfoundland, on Canada Day. Freddy and his family, including his cranky little sister Clare, join the early morning celebrations for the Sunrise Ceremony where Freddy meets a classmate William. The boys' attempts to pacify Clare with a jingly flag are thrice thwarted by wind gusts and once by a saucy crow. And when Clare finally has the flag, the sound of her crying is replaced by that of horses as the Mounted Police suddenly appear. Freddy, who in this story is dressed up as a Mountie in a red hoodie, rubber boots and a Stetson, is absolutely thrilled when the lead rider singles him out to take part in the RCMP Musical Ride.

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     Susan Chalker Browne and illustrator Hilda Rose have together created another energetic and imaginative holiday tale for Freddy whose first adventure took place at the St. John's historic Regatta Day. There are lots of repetitive phrases to encourage children to chime in on repeated readings and plenty of action to propel the story along. I do feel, though, that the tidbits of historical information included at the bottom of each page of text disrupt the flow of the story and would be better placed at the end of the book. The illustrations by Nova Scotian artist Hilda Rose are colourful and attractive but depict a surprisingly verdant Signal Hill which is not geographically correct - with lush grass replacing rocky outcrops and sheer drops and with families picnicking beyond restraining walls. That aside, Hey Freddy, It's Canada's Birthday! is an enjoyable story to read, and reread to young children.


Alison Mews is Co-ordinator of the Centre for Instructional Services, Faculty of Education, Memorial University of Newfoundland, in St. John's, NL.

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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