CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 19 . . . . January 20, 2012
Escorted by a friendly troupe of furry beasts, Canada All Year Round takes the reader on a pure fun and exhilarating romp across Canada. Making quick and memorable stops at landmark cultural, historical, and nature sites, this perfectly produced picture book cycles through the months of the year featuring a fun calendar-appropriate stopover with each month. The beaver-moose-squirrel-bear-raccoon troupe of best friend explorers pulls the reader along Ottawa’s Rideau Canal ice rink in January, Quebec’s Winter Carnival in February, a maple sugar shack in March, and numerous other Canadian highlights, including spring tulip fields, summer blueberry picking, and a fall salmon run. The exploration ends at in a cozy house with the furry friends compiling their souvenirs into scrapbooks. The book is charming and full of wholesome fun, teaching about Canada without being trying too hard to be patriotic. The pace is perfectly snappy, leaving a crisp, stinging-cheeks type of feeling.
Canada All Year round’s success lies in its wonderful pictures. With blocks of vibrant colors and full of movement, Per-Henrik Gürth’s illustrations are highly reminiscent of Ted Harrison’s depictions of the Yukon, though Gürth uses bold black outlining. Playful, bright, and innocent for children readers, while at the same time pleasingly iconic for adults’ eyes as well, Per-Henrik Gürth’s art is a fitting choice for depicting Canada. The end pages feature a very attractive and simple map of Canada, offering a great teaching tool. Similarly, just before the back end page, there is a quick recap of the adventure, featuring card-like badges for reviewing each calendar month with their corresponding identifier (like skates for January). Touching on several concepts (calendar months, maps, Canadian geography, to name a few), as well as various themes (friendship, cooperation, patriotism, physical fitness, to name a few), this simple picture book is packed with goodness, fun, and opportunities for learning.
Danya Vasquez David is a graduate of University of British Columbia’s M.A. in Children’s Literature program.
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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.