CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 10 . . . . November 4, 2011
The colours used in this vivid account of the history of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are the stars of the show-no-offence-to-the-Mounties who, of course, are almost as impressive. Fire Engine Red, Royal Blue, Mustard Yellow and Forest Green, to name a few, march across the pages easily capturing the attention of young readers. The white space on every page allows each image to pop.
With author/illustrator Marc Tétro's help, readers follow the Mounties across Canada, meeting a few big names along the way: John A Macdonald, Louis Riel and King Edward VII. All the characters are drawn without facial features save for prominent moustaches, giving them a very dignified air. These faceless characters are a little disconcerting, but effective - one gets the sense that this is meant to be a unifying technique suggesting the thousands of unknown characters who had a role to play in the history of the country.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is an overly simplistic telling of the events of the time (both of the history of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and of the creation of the Canadian railway), though that is to be expected in a 24 four-page book. This version glosses over some dark elements of Canadian history, but it does invite discussion, and does so beautifully.
The dedication reads, 'To all the grandparents who've ever wanted to tell the story of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to their grandchildren', and hopefully the book will encourage and enable many such dialogues. Certainly it will etch several bright Canadian images in young readers' minds. Scholastic is no stranger to the difficult task of bridging education and pleasure, and The Royal Canadian Mounted Police serves both purposes. T&eacutre;tro's iconic images will be ingrained in the minds of all those Canadians who have the fortune to experience them.
Lara LeMoal is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Children's Literature at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC.
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