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.
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.
"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:
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!"
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.
"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
"Snapdragons," Bob replied, pleased by my reaction. . . . "Let's
take a bouquet to Mom."
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
The Manitoba Library Association
TABLE OF CONTENTS FOR THIS ISSUE - September 29, 1995.
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