________________ CM . . . . Volume I Number 16 . . . . September 29, 1995

The Twilight Marsh and Other Wilderness Adventures

Todd Lee. Illustations by Jim Brennan.
Vancouver: Polestar Press, 1995.
92pp, paper, 10.95.
ISBN 1-896095-07-0.

Subject Headings:
Ranch life-British Columbia-Juvenile fiction.
Children's stories, Canadian (English).

Grade 3 - 5 / Ages 8 - 10.
Review by Harriet Zaidman


Bob chucked out loud and at once the furry clowns disappeared. For some time we could hear them following along through the rank swamp grass, snorting and blowing.
"They may have young ones somewhere close," Dad explained. "All these antics could have been to divert our attention and lead us away. Still bored?"
"No way!" I replied excitedly. "That was neat."


The Twilight Marsh is the autobiographical account of Todd Lee's childhood in Northern British Columbia. Lee, who passed away this year, was a tremendously prolific writer of six books and more than fourteen hundred published articles and stories. The Twilight Marsh is a sequel to The Snoring Log Mystery, which also documents growing up in the 'twenties and 'thirties in a much less populated B.C..


Lee's recollections are of a time when children were more innocent and families such as his were isolated in the wilds of the Caribou Mountains. He recalls with wonder the excitement of observing animals and birds in their natural habitat, and the difficulties of life in an untamed wilderness. The boys (Gary and Bob) are good friends, and good sons, and the book exudes the warmth of simpler times gone by. The pressures of today's world did not exist. Gary and Bob have time to explore the wilderness, learning and playing at the same time. He relates adventures seeing a moose, an otter, beavers and barn swallows, and describes his amazement at the beauty of wildflowers: image
Bob led the way, moving carefully to avoid sinking into the mud. Finally he pushed through a clump of bushes and came to a stop. "There!"
"Wow!" I gasped. I was completely stunned. For a dozen metres in front of me I saw a bright yellow carpet of flowers clustered on long stalks, swaying gracefully in the breeze. It was like a burst of sunshine filling the glade.
"What are they?" I stammered. I had never seen flowers like these before.
"Snapdragons," Bob replied, pleased by my reaction. . . . "Let's take a bouquet to Mom."
The innocence with which this dialogue is written is perhaps the book's downfall. As genuine as it may be, the style is from another era. Though today's kids read artificial dialogue in popular fiction, this is not a book they would pick up on their own because it lacks a current theme. Lee's efforts are not to be dismissed, however. A teacher can make good use of the books to educate students about the Canada of days gone by and about nature study by reading it (especially to younger students) and popularizing it in the classroom. And perhaps teachers should make a point of using the memories of people who experienced the "real thing" so their students can develop an appreciation for the Canadian heritage.

The black and white pen and ink drawings are accurate and appealing.

Recommended with reservations.

Harriet Zaidman is a Winnipeg teacher/librarian.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © 1998 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