CM . . .
. Volume XVIII Number 1. . . .September 2, 2011
Find Scruncheon and Touton: All Around Newfoundland, a bright and engaging book, is a cross between Where's Waldo?, the I Spy books, and Richard Scarry's Busytown books - but with a Newfoundland setting. Mother-and-daughter team Nancy and Laurel Keating have lovingly depicted scenes of geographical or cultural significance, starring two breeds of dogs that not only represent both the island and mainland portions of Newfoundland and Labrador, but are familiar to children everywhere.
Each double-page illustration has a different setting and a list of items to find within the picture. For example, in a crowded family kitchen party, readers are tasked to find Touton and another 10 objects, including two pies, knitting needles and rubber boots. The kitchen is a nostalgic composite of traditional Newfoundland kitchens, complete with daybed, wood stove, hooked rugs, birch broom, homemade bread cooling and salt beef bucket. The Keatings have chosen to be inclusive rather than accurate with their illustrations, jumbling together landmarks by theme (nature park, city park, museum), rather than attempting to portray a specific place. While the book is not a "virtual tour" of the province, as stated on the back cover, there are many recognisable symbols of the province. In addition to the 11 panoramic scenes, the final four pages reproduce small images (such as a puffin, an iceberg and an igloo) that readers are challenged to find in the book.
Alison Mews, a recently retired librarian, lives in St. John's, NL.