________________ CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 13. . . .November 25, 2011

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A Visual Dictionary of Victorian Life. (Crabtree Visual Dictionaries).

Bobbie Kalman. St.
Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2011.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $10.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (RLB.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3527-4 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-3507-6 (RLB).

Subject Headings:
Canada-Social life and customs-19th century-Dictionaries, Juvenile.
United States-Social life and customs-19th century-Dictionaries, Juvenile.
Canada-Social life and customs-19th century-Pictorial works-Juvenile literature.
United States-Social life and customs-19th century-Pictorial works-Juvenile literature.
Picture dictionaries-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11.

Review by Ian Stewart.

*** /4

   
cover

A Visual Dictionary of Christmas Long Ago. (Crabtree Visual Dictionaries).

Bobbie Kalman.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2011.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $10.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (RLB.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3526-7 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-3506-9 (RLB).

Subject Headings:
Christmas-Dictionaries, Juvenile.
Christmas-Pictorial works-Juvenile literature.
Picture dictionaries-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11.

Review by Ian Stewart.

*** /4

   

excerpt:

Victorian people knew how to have fun. Many Victorian homes had either a piano or an organ. People made their own music. When someone played an instrument, people gathered around and sang songs together. Wealthy women spent most of their time planning and attending fancy parties. People who could not afford fancy parties held work parties, instead. Work parties were called bees. There were bees for husking corn, making quilts, peeling apples, and building barns. A big part of the bee was eating, dancing and playing games. Work was fun when done with friends. (From Victorian Life.)

Long ago, Christmas was very different from what it is today. In the early days of North America, people worked very hard and had little time to celebrate. As villages and towns grew, life became less difficult. People did not have as much work to do in winter and looked forward to celebrating Christmas. Winter was also an easier time to travel as sleighs could glide over the snow, even where there were no roads. People enjoyed being outdoors. They went for sleigh rides and skated on the ice. People visited one another and had parties. They danced , played games, and told stories. Christmas was even a popular time for weddings! (From
Christmas Long Ago.)

 

These two books in the "Crabtree Visual Dictionary Series" will help round out the Canadian history section of any elementary school library. Like all Crabtree books, they are copiously illustrated with colourful drawings, contemporary paintings and pictures of artifacts from the period under examination.

     They circumscribe the era being studied nicely and contain many anecdotal tidbits to delight budding historians. The books have a table of contents, bold-faced highlighted words are defined in the text, and an adequate index and glossary of terms are provided to aid student learning and understanding of nonfiction texts.

      Victorian Life introduces readers to largely, comfortable middle-class North American life in the period between 1837-1901, while Christmas Long Ago specifically turns to the Victorian era's traditions and customs that were emulated in North America.

      In Victorian Life, students learn about the centrality of home and family in the Victorian era. Students learn about kitchens and parlors, ladies' and men's fashions and clothes for boys and girls. They learn that the Victorians were not the staid, proper people depicted in common stereotypes. They liked to have fun, no matter what the season, enjoyed each other's company and held many parties.

      Although Christmas Long Ago begins with the story of Jesus' birth and mentions Christian Christmas practices, it is basically a secular description of the fun family events and traditions that began in the Victorian era and have grown to create the modern North American holiday. Students learn about gift giving traditions and the games and activities that were played during the Christmas holiday season.

Recommended.

Ian Stewart is the Reading Recovery teacher at Cecil Rhodes School 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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