CM Magazine: CM Volume 2 Number 3

Volume II Number 3

November 3, 1995

Table of Contents

Book Reviews

 Emily Carr's Woo.
Constance Horne. Illustrated by Lissa Calvert.
Review by A. Edwardsson.
Grades 4 - 6 / Ages 8 - 11.

 Blackouts to Bright Lights: Canadian War Bride Stories.
Edited by Barbara Ladouceur and Phyllis Spence.
Review by Grace Shaw.
Grades 9 - 13 / Ages 13 - Adult.

 One Village, One War: 1914-1945.
Douglas How.
Review by Neil V. Payne.
Grades 10 - 13 / Ages 14 - Adult.

 What Did They Say About Gays?
Allan Gould.
Review by Ted Monkhouse.
Grades 10 - 13 / Ages 14 - Adult.

 The First Time: Volumes I & II.
Edited by Charles Montpetit.
Review by Kathleen L. Kellett-Betsos.
Grades 10 - 13 / Ages 14 - Adult.

News: National

 Canada Council Announces Finalists for 1995 Governor General's Literary Awards


 The Little Math Puzzle
 The Great Canadian Trivia Contest

Advertising Feature

 Orca Publishers
The First Time: Volume I and II

Duncan Thornton

Executive Assistant
Peter Tittenberger

Book Review

Emily Carr's Woo.

Constance Horne. Illustrated by Lissa Calvert.
Lantzville, BC: Oolichan books, 1995. 72pp, paper, $9.95.
ISBN 0-88982-149-6.

Grades 4 - 6 / Ages 8 - 11.
Review by A. Edwardsson.


The old ladies were panting slightly when they stepped into Emily's studio. For a moment they stood sniffing the roast beef smell and smiling at one another. Alice took off her hat and hung it on a peg. "Where are the dogs?" she asked.
"In the yard," Emily answered. Alice raised her eyebrows in surprise. At least three griffons were usually present at her younger sister's parties. Lizzie looked sharply at the table.
"Where's the rat?" she asked.
"Shut up in the attic,' Emily said. "I know you don't like Suzie to be on the table at meals."
"Humph," said Lizzie. 'That never stopped you before.'

This tale of a mischievous pet monkey is aimed at a much older crowd than Rey's Curious George books. Author Constance Horne (Nikola and Granny) used information gleaned from artist Emily Carr's books, letters, and diaries to create these fictionalized stories. It is billed as the adventures of an intelligent monkey that "will entertain children while informing them about the life of one of Canada's most important artists."

However, there is very little actual information in this slim volume. Instead, the book focusses on the monkey's antics, and the most we learn about Emily is that she is loves animals and is a bit eccentric. For example, she takes her pets camping in a large caravan called "the Elephant."

Readers first meet Emily at age fifty-two when she acquires a two year-old Javanese monkey from a pet shop. When her sisters come for dinner and discover her new pet, they advise her to send it back. After they leave, she names it Woo after the mournful sound it makes. She cuddles Woo and tells her, "Don't worry little monk. I don't have to listen to my big sisters anymore. I'm fifty-two years old. I own a house and a business. I'm an artist and some people think I'm a good one. Who cares what Alice and Lizzie say? You're mine and I'm going to keep you."

Children may wish that they could have a monkey for a pet, and Woo's escapades might amuse them. But they might also ask why Emily puts dresses rather than a sweater on Woo when the creature is cold. Or they might wonder about the larger (more contemporary) question -- is it fair to keep a monkey as a pet? Unfortunately, the Briticisms and Emily's age will keep most readers at arms length.

It's just as well that we don't get too attached or involved. In the final chapter Emily Carr is "very ill" and moves to a smaller home:
Then Emily had another attack and went to the hospital for a long time. It was too long for the animals to be left alone. What to do with them? The dogs and birds found homes quickly, but nobody wanted a fifteen-year-old monkey. Emily's sister Lizzie had died. Alice was blind. Emily Carr decided that the best place for Woo was the monkey house at the zoo in Stanley Park in Vancouver.

Younger readers may be concerned with the illness -- what's wrong and does she get better? When the pets are farmed out there's no good-bye scene -- a friend goes to the apartment and takes off Woo's dress, and shortly she and her cage are loaded into a big truck bound for the zoo. Thankfully, she's befriended on the last page by another monkey.

This book was published on the fiftieth anniversary of Carr's death. Each chapter is short with large clear text. Artist Lissa Calvert has added warmth and personality with her detailed black and white pencil illustrations. The cover portrait of "Woo" is by Emily Carr. This book unfortunately has limited appeal. It may be of interest to avid animal lovers, or elementary students enrolled in advanced art classes.

Optional purchase.

A. Edwardsson is in charge of the Children's Department at a branch of the Winnipeg Public Library. She has a Bachelor of Education degree and a Child Care Worker III certification, and is a member of the Manitoba branch of the Canadian Authors' Association.

Book Review

Blackouts to Bright Lights:
Canadian War Bride Stories.

Edited by Barbara Ladouceur and Phyllis Spence.
Vancouver: Ronsdale Press, 1995. 299pp, paper, $16.95.
ISBN 0-921870-33-7

Grade 9 - 13 / Ages 13 - Adult.
Review by Grace Shaw.

It is fitting that this celebratory book about the lives of Canadian war brides has been published on the fiftieth anniversary of the end of the war. The editors have transcribed the oral histories of thirty-six of the forty-eight thousand Canadian war brides into an upbeat collection of reminiscences. There is perhaps an emotional distance from the events as women in their seventies are looking back fifty years and giving a brief synopsis of their lives. Individually the stories are all interesting but a bit formulaic: where each bride was at the time war broke out; how she met her future husband; their subsequent marriage and life in Canada.

These courageous women helped their country win the war, doing everything no one knew women could do. Equally courageously, they faced life in a new and foreign land. Although they barely knew their husbands, most overcame the trauma of living far from home and helped build a new country.

The faithful reader does tire a bit and wonder whether all of the stories are needed to present this colourful picture. Probably the funniest story is of the keen young wife who painted the outhouse with white enamel in the middle of a prairie winter; her husband was surprised all right.

The simple language and somewhat choppy sentences wear a little as well. The five personal narratives at the end (written by the brides themselves) have a more varied literary quality.

But Blackouts to Bright Lights remains a fitting tribute to the courage and resourcefulness of the British war brides, providing an important part of the social history of the Second World War.

Adults and teens, read and enjoy.


Grace Shaw is a teacher at Vancouver Community College.

Book Review

One Village, One War:

Douglas How.
Hantsport, Nova Scotia: Lancelot Press, 1995. 374pp, paper, $16.95.
ISBN 0-88999-563-X. No CIP.

Grades 10 - 13 / Ages 14 - Adult.
Review by Neil V. Payne.


They shall grow not old,
   as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them,
   nor the years condemn,
At the going down of the sun
   and in the morning
We will remember them

There are 41 names now, 16 more than there used to be, but the monument also says things the names themselves don't say. Its arithmetic is strikingly similar to the statistics for the entire country: the loss of lives in 1914-18 was roughly 50% greater than it was in 1939-45 when the national population was twice as large. Moreover, the village has done what many communities have: it has, in a sense, accepted that there were not two wars but one, has put the names of the fallen of 1939-45 on the memorial to the fallen of 1914-18. Many cities and towns have dedicated parks and libraries and rinks as memorials of a more practical kind, but something has happened to the theology of monuments; some scepticism or bewilderment in the 20th century mind seems to have numbed the urge to erect memorials to human beings, perhaps as part of a doubt in man about man himself.
So the names of the 16 dead of my generation stare at me, and I remember most of them. Their faces come to me, young again, surprisingly vivid, laughing with the radiance of youth, haunting with the age they've been denied. But when the service is over I look at the original 25 names, and I recognize family names but no faces come to me. For they are the names of men who died before I was born. In the evening at the Legion banquet, I speak of the village dead of my own generation and suddenly realize that most of the men in the room have never known them either. I remember that amid the incandescence of the '60s there arose among the young a feeling that since war is bad something less than honor is due to those who wage it; that at a recent Remembrance Day service at nearby Mount Allison University virtually the only students who showed up were those assigned a role in the ceremony.

One village, One War was a project that started as a memorial to the war dead of the village of Dorchester, New Brunswick, because, the author feared, most Canadians living today have no memories, no experiences, no understanding of either the importance of those years in Canada's development, or what they were like for the people who lived through them.

One Village, One War describes Canadian life in that period as it was in one small village. It details how Dorchester lived the events that forged the identity of Canada as an independent nation, both internally and among the community of nations. And it reminds us how great events shape and are shaped by the everyday lives of ordinary people.

It's all there: the experiences of the ones who went away to fight for King and country, and those who stayed behind; those who returned and those who didn't; the quiet self-effacing memories of Canadian veterans contrasted with the self-assured, movie-driven American hero.

There is also an unexpected dimension -- the Klotz family, German immigrants whose children grew up alongside the author during the Great Depression. They returned to Germany when war was both imminent and obvious, to avoid the confiscation of their farm and internment in prison camps for enemy aliens that the father suffered during World War I. So members of the Klotz family found themselves fighting on the other side in Hitler's war.

Along with a number of historians, the author insists that the two world wars were, in fact, one war, with a pause in the middle just long enough to grow another generation of soldiers. So the story is told chronologically through the eyes of the author, who was born in 1919 just after the first phase of this thirty-one-year war, and who, with his contemporaries, had just reached the age of enrollment in the forces as the second phase began. At first, How's tale follows the quiet pace of life in Dorchester and mentions the great events on the national and global stage as a backdrop to day-to-day, small-town life. The returned men from the previous war didn't talk much about their experiences, and no one bothered to ask them, so no one thought much about wars past or future.

As first the possibility, then the likelihood, of war grew again, the Klotz family came in for some suspicion and minor hazing, but for the most part, those powerful forces shaping the world were very distant.

And when war came, young men and women joined up and drifted away in ones and twos, and life went on in the village much as before -- except that letters home came from the war zones instead of from Halifax and Fredericton and Montreal, where the young of the village habitually went to become nurses, teachers, bank tellers, or whatever.

How's story ends with a school reunion in 1988, with hundreds of the villages' people, including Gottfried Klotz, returning, many for the first time since they went off to war.

One Village, One War is an engaging story: well told and familiar in the best sense. It is a homy account of young people coming of age in a difficult time while our nation was coming of age in battle in Europe, Africa, and Asia, and on the oceans of the world.

It is a story that needs telling, as those who were there become fewer every year. The vast majority of Canadians, who came along later, and now enjoy the benefits won at staggering cost, forget the lessons of those simpler days at their peril.

One Village, One War is an ideal source for social history. The reader may readily identify with the young people who went off to war, with the older ones who stayed behind, and with the returning veterans -- no longer either young or innocent.

It is also a fascinating and enjoyable portrait of ordinary people in extraordinary times, who dealt with whatever infamy might be visited upon them by a world gone mad with resolve, humour, and humility. I would endorse it very highly for public and high-school libraries.

Highly recommended.

Neil V. Payne is a teacher-librarian at Kingston Collegiate in Kingston Ontario. He has served thirty-four years in Canadian Naval Reserve, holding rank of Commander.

The images accompanying this review are paintings by Mary Riter Hamilton, currently in the collection of the National Archives.

Book Review

What Did They Say About Gays?

Allan Gould.
Toronto: ECW Press, 1995. 180pp, paper, $16.95.
ISBN 1-55022-235-X. CIP.

Grade 10 - 13 / Ages 14 - Adult.
Review by Ted Monkhouse.


"I come to this book because of my Jewishness, and, not unrelatedly, because of my lifelong involvement in civil rights for blacks. Those three groups, of course, have very much in common: biblical threats and rejection, historical mockery and hatred, long struggles for civil and legal rights, revulsion by society, stonings, lynchings, even murder. . . . There are some real shockers in this book, at least to this sympathetic heterosexual. . . . In anthologizing and editing a book like this, one must have guidelines, and I choose to follow two. First, few, if any, writings from fiction; and second, and most important, no comments from homosexuals."

-- from "A Very Personal Introduction")

This is Gould's twenty-second book, and one of several anthologies he has edited. Gould is a literary scholar (PhD, York University; MA, New York University) who has gathered what over a hundred scholars, philosophers, scientists, organizations, religions, and poets said and wrote about homosexuality and homosexual men. So it is a learned, yet entertaining work; balanced in viewpoint and encompassing in scope.

Besides religious pronouncements, the book presents the views on homosexuality of luminaries from 2500 B.C. to the present, including Shaw, Rousseau, Voltaire, Kant, Lord Baden Powell (founder of the Scout movement), Pope John Paul II, Pliny the Elder, Winston Churchill, Samuel Pepys, Marshall McLuhan, Dylan Thomas, and Newt Gingrich, to name a very few. All selections ascribe the source, most of which are credible in a scholarly sense. None promote homosexuality, but together they provide a spectrum of moral, ethical, legal, religious, political, and philosophical thought and research on what is still a socially sensitive topic. What Did They Say About Gays? is organized by epoch: from the Babylonians to foundations of Christianity; the Middle Ages to the Renaissance; the Enlightenment to the nineteenth century; the turn of the century to World War II; and finally, World War II to the present. The reader easily sees the evolution, or lack thereof, of the history of thought about homosexuality.

As a reference tool it is very helpful but the lack of even simple indexing of those quoted is frustrating. The book is surely not intended to be read from beginning to end, yet the reader is unable to easily find out the position of any given church, leader, religion, or writer on homosexuality without a good deal of thumbing through the pages. The selections seldom exceed one page and so the 180 pages present more than 100 entries, which can only be individually located by knowing where they belong chronologically.

A school or church library should have no hesitation in owning this book. It in no way sensationalizes -- it is even physically drab in its appearance and layout. What Did They Say About Gays? merely presents the topic as seen or studied by others in a balanced, rational, dispassionate manner.


Ted Monkhouse, is a retired Teacher/Librarian from Guelph, Ontario.

Book Review

The First Time: Volumes I & II.

Edited by Charles Montpetit.
Victoria, B.C.: Orca Book Publishers, 1995. 147pp / 128pp, paper, $7.95 each.
ISBN 1-55143-937-1 / 1-55143-039-8.

Grade 10 - 13 / Ages 14 - Adult.
Review by Kathleen L. Kellett-Betsos.


I hardly need to describe the embarrassment of buying condoms, which, in the 1950s, were locked away out of sight, so they could be kept from the people who needed them most. Some kind of law also stated that when someone wanted to buy them, there would only be a female clerk on duty, usually an older woman who pretended not to hear and made you repeat your request while looking at you as if you intended to rape and dismember her. . . .
I guess the manufacturers assumed that the condom, like the lever or the inclined plane, was self-explanatory. I'm sure the package contained no instructions. As I recall, the only printing on the back of the carton read FOR THE PREVENTION OF DISEASE. But even if there had been instructions, we probably wouldn't have used them, as I pride myself to this day on never having read the directions accompanying anything.

Although purchasing condoms is much easier today, young readers can no doubt identify with the adolescent embarrassment of the protagonist in W.P. Kinsella's story, "The Clothesline Door," taken here from The First Time, a collection of short stories edited by Charles Montpetit, winner of the 1989 Governor General's Award for Children's Literature in French. Following up the success of La Premiere fois (Quebec/Amerique, 1991), an anthology for adolescents well received in Quebec, Montpetit here presents original stories in English by sixteen Canadian authors. The initial chapter, "Precautions," begins with the timely warning "Wear protection. There. Now that we've got this out of the way, let's move on to what this book really is about." And what this book really is about is SEX and love and growing up, each story being drawn from real life experience, although not necessarily that of the authors.

The anthology emphasizes diversity of both content and style. Leanne Franson gives a humorous depiction of the problems of sexual orientation in her comic strip "Impeccable Taste," while Christopher Paw explores its more tragic consequences in "The Gunshot." In "Borders," Martin Stephens examines the ambivalent feelings of a woman who has just discovered that the man who had abused her as a child is dead. On a more joyful note, Deirdre Kessler's "Did I or didn't I?" gives a tender but un-sublime view of lovemaking, particularly in her account of lovers accommodating their bodies to each other and to the confined space of the front seat of a car.

Even less glorious is the experience of Mary Blakeslee's protagonist in "Bump and grind," who feels "Deflowered and deflated," concluding that it's better to wait for the one true love. My personal favourite is "Questions and answers" by Budge Wilson, in which a mother recalls her own sexual awakening while trying to decide how to talk to her daughter about sex. I was also struck by Lyle Weis's "Nightvision," which captures the wistfulness of a young artist's memories of the older woman who had seduced him: "And lately, when I paint a woman, I have to be careful she doesn't always have Alison's face. Sometimes, I give the woman sunglasses. Sometimes, I close her eyes." Montpetit concludes with an invitation to submit stories for a third anthology

I must say that because of the explicit artwork on the covers, I felt a little uncomfortable reading these volumes on the streetcar and would imagine that many adolescents would feel the same. Also, I found Montpetit sometimes tries too hard to be "cool" in his introduction to each story, although including photos of the authors as adolescents was a great idea. Finally, aside from the inclusion of one black author, this anthology doesn't seem to have made a serious attempt to reflect the ethnic diversity of our country.

Whether The First Time is used in high school English classes or Family Studies classes, I would recommend these stories as a good starting point for the discussion of the emotional implications of sexual awakening: How do we cope with ambivalence about sexual orientation? When's the right time for the first time? And can your mother really tell just by looking at your face the morning after?


Kathleen L. Kellett-Betsos is a French Professor at Ryerson Polytechnic University in Toronto.

News: National

Canada Council Announces Finalists
for 1995 Governor General's Literary Awards

At simultaneous news conferences at the Bravo! arts channel in Toronto and at the Bank of Montreal head office in Montreal, the Canada Council announced the names of the finalists for the 1995 Governor General's Literary Awards. CM is posting the names in the Children's Literature categories.

English Language Finalists:

Children's Literature -- Text

Children's Literature -- Illustration

French Language Finalists:

Children's Literature -- Text

Children's Literature -- Illustration

The names of the winners in each category will be revealed on Tuesday, November 14 at two p.m., at a ceremony at the Winter Garden Theatre in Toronto. His Excellency the Right Honourable Romeo LeBlanc, Governor General of Canada, will present the laureates with their prizes.


"The Little Math Puzzle Contest"

Tom Murray, the coordinator of the The Math Puzzle, has been kind enough to give CM permission to run the weekly Little Math Puzzle Contest (inspired by The Great Canadian Trivia Challenge.)

About the Little Math Puzzle:

Royal West Academy (a high school) in Montreal, Quebec is sponsoring a little math puzzle contest.

This contest is open to all participants but is designed for students in grades five through ten. English will be the language used for all problems and if their solutions relate to a language, the language will be English.

Each week a new puzzle will be presented and the answers and winners from two weeks earlier will be posted. Answers are to be received by 8:00 a.m. eastern time the following Friday.

The answers will then be judged, and a correct answer along with the winners' names, will be posted with the puzzle two weeks later.

Both individual students and entire classes are welcome to participate.

Do not to send your answers to CM. Instead, please send all answers to Andrea Pollock and Alex Nazarov at the following address:

With your solution please include your names, school, grade, and e-mail address, and your city.

Puzzle #6

This is left over from three weeks ago, because there just weren't enough right answers the first time.

What are the next two numbers?....

3, 1, 4, 1, 5, 9, __, ___ ? ?
These numbers are from pi = 3.141592654
so the correct next two numbers are 2 and 6.

Second Try Winners

Answer #7

Question #7 from two weeks ago was the following:

What is the next letter in the pattern?

R, E, B, M, U, ___
These letters are from the word "numbers" spelled backwards, so the correct next letter is N.
(L also works ...and maybe more )

  • Mr. Van Lieshout's Grade 7 Class
    St.Peter Canisius School
  • Mr. Farwell and Mr. denOuden's grade 5 class
    St. Anglea School Saskatoon, Sask.
  • Grade 7 Math Class
    Horse Lake Elementary School RR#1, 100 Mile House, BC
    Ray Truant
  • Gerry Noonan's Gr. 8 Class
    General Vanier School Winnipeg, MB
  • Bryan Wood, Danielle Rodych, Megan Clear
    Ecole St-Germain Niveau/Grade-6, Winnipeg, MB
  • Jessica Sanders
    Mr. Bishop's Grade 8 class
    St. Peter Canisius School, Watford, ON
  • Patsy Dohey
    Fatima Academy
    St.Bride's, NF
  • Dave Newbold, Shantelle Rivard, Sara Harrington, Tina Goncalves
    grade 4 & 5, Hastings School, St. Vital, MB
  • St. Patrick's H.S., Sarnia, ON
    Junior mathematics club
    Grades 9 and 10
  • Hedges School
    Grade 8 Math Class
    Winnipeg, MB
  • Dana Falsetti, Matt Hoekstra, Jesse Lamb
    St. Margarets School, Sarnia, ON
  • Dory Stucker, Elisha Chesler; Mrs. Boltuc's grade 5 class.
    Da Woon Chung, 8a Mrs Eisenstat's class, Yorkhill Elementary School,
    Thornhill, ON
  • Dalhousie Regional High
    Grade 9
    Dalhousie, NB
  • Sacred Heart Elementary School
    Sarnia, ON
    Shaun Siklosi
    Amanda Gardiner
    Chris Laycock
    Gabrielle Kern
    Sara Lavoratore
  • Tiffiny Busk, Fraser Moore, Stephnie Moroney,Russel Beswick
    John MacNeil School
    Dartmouth, NS
  • Ms. Laudonio's grade 5
    Gregory A. Hogan Sarnia, ON
  • D. Sare, Sussex Junior High
    Sussex, NB
  • Jenna Nicolai, Kelly Maheu, Amy Hatfield
    St. Margaret's. Sarnia, ON
  • Kelli Cowley Tania DiCocco
    Grade 5
    teacher: Ms. Beth Cross
    Gregory A Hogan School, Sarnia ON
  • Erin Doyle, Jaclyn Doyle, and Matthew Doyle
    St. Helen's School, Sarnia ON
  • Anne Marie Arada
    Mr. Manzerolle's Grade 5 class
    St. Andrew School, Windsor, ON
  • Alex Ferriera
    Grade 4/5 class, St. Margaret's School, Sarnia, ON
  • Brian Yates, Chris Jeffery
    St.Margarets School, Sarnia, ON
  • Gr. 6 Class
    Rm 48 (Mrs. G)
    SunValley School, Winnipeg, MB
  • Tracy Constable
    Grade 9
    General Byng School, Winnipeg, MB
  • Chris Machado
    Mrs. Delorme's Grade 8
    Gregory Hogan School Sarnia, ON

Puzzle #9

This week's Question #9 is the following:

What are the next two integers?

2, 3, 5, 7, 11, __ , __

Please remember to send your response by 8:00 a.m. Friday, November 10 to:

Andrea Pollock and Alex Nazarov
Royal West Academy, Montreal West, Quebec.


"The Great Canadian Trivia Challenge"

Steve Caldwell, the coordinator of the Trivia Challenge, has been kind enough to give CM permission to run his weekly Great Canadian Trivia Contest, a great way to motivate students to spend some time in the library.

Here's some late answers and winners from October 13; the answers and winners from Oct. 20; this week's question; and some information about the contest:


The following answers for the Oct. 13th, Pile of Bones, Regina question were received after the due date but were dated before the due date:
  1. Mrs. Cantalini's Gr.7/8 class, Gregory A. Hogan School: Sarnia, Ontario
  2. Marc Miller and Chris Whidden, Mr. Leggatt's Gr. 8 class, Victoria Public School: Goderich, Ontario
  3. Chris Janz, Eric Stewart, and Ferruccio Montanino, Gr. 8, General Vanier School: Winnipeg, Manitoba


In October 27th's Who Am I question, Clue #1 stated:

"I was born in New Brunswick in 1879."

In reality this should read:

"I was born in Ontario in 1879 and moved to New Brunswick."

My thanks to the sharp-eyed staff at St. Andrew School in Windsor, Ontario for spotting this error.

I apologize for any inconvenience.

OCTOBER 20th's Question:

This was another two-parter. On October 14 the federal N.D.P. party elected a new party leader, Alexa McDonough The "N.D.P." was not the original name of the party. Here are the questions:
  1. What was the original name for the N.D.P.?
  2. Who was the first leader of the original party?
Remember you had to answer both parts to get credit for a correct answer.


The N.D.P. has traditionally been the third party in Canadian politics, although it now ranks fourth after the last federal election. The N.D.P. does hold power in British Columbia and Saskatchewan. Before 1961 the N.D.P., or New Democratic Party, was called the C.C.F., or Cooperative Commonwealth Federation.

The first leader was J.S. Woodsworth.


  1. Stanley Hill, I think Stanley is from William MacDonald Junior High School: Yellowknife, North West Territories
  2. Mrs. Cantalini's Gr.7/8 class, Gregory A. Hogan School: Sarnia, Ontario
  3. The Grade 9 class, Vancouver Christian School: Vancouver, British Columbia


On November 11, Canada will commemorate Remembrance Day. Name the Canadian general, arguably the most able Allied general of World War I, who commanded the First Canadian Division at Vimy Ridge and the entire Canadian Corps from then until the end of the War.

British author Denis Winter describes him as ". . . the most effective commander in the British Army during 1917-18 . . ."

DUE DATE FOR THIS ANSWER: 11 November, 1995


Remember, don't post your answers to CM. Instead, send your answers to Steve Caldwell at the following e-mail address:


In addition to your e-mail address, please send your school's name and the grade and/or class that you are in, as well as your postal address.



Welcome to the second year of The Great Canadian Trivia Contest.

The History Department of Colonel By Secondary School in Ottawa, Ontario is sponsoring a Canadian Studies Internet trivia contest.

This contest is designed to appeal to students in Grades 7 - 10, although other grades are more than welcome to participate.


Each week a new question will be presented. Students participating in the contest will, in all likelihood, have to do some research to find the correct answer to our weekly question.

Questions are based on some aspect of Canadian Studies. Questions will include the subjects of history, geography, culture, natural science, sports, current events, law, and any other aspect of Canadian studies that we can think of.

A new question will be posted every Friday in CM (the trivia contest is also distributed through Schoolnet a few days earlier). Answers must be received by 8:00 a.m. eastern time a week from the following Saturday. Answers will be tabulated, and the correct answer, along with the winners' names, will be posted in two weeks. Thus, there will be a new question each week while the answer and winners will be posted two weeks later.

We plan on offering a few nominal prizes so make sure you let us know where we can reach you. We would also like participants to let us know if they are entering as an individual, a group, or if they are representing a particular class and school. We will try to award prizes for individuals/groups and classes.

Last year we had participants from across Canada and the United States and as far away as China. We welcome all new participants as well as our returning veteran contestants.

Advertising Feature

Orca Publishers

The First Time: Volumes I & II.

Edited by Charles Montpetit.
Victoria, B.C.: Orca Book Publishers, 1995. 147pp / 128pp, paper, $7.95 each.
ISBN 1-55143-937-1 / 1-55143-039-8.




There. Now that we've got this out of the way,
let's move on to what this book really is about.

Turn on the news.

At this precise moment, people are fanatically killing each other off somewhere. Not just personal conflicts, but full-scale, honest-to-goodness, all-out massacres. As I write these words, it's happening in Bosnia, Rwanda, East Timor and a host of other "hot spots." The places may have changed by the time you read this book, but you can rest assured that the overall level of bloodshed will still be the same.

What's this got to do with a collection of short stories about first sexual experiences, you ask? Not much; we're only trying to put things in perspective, if you don't mind.

You see, ever since the dawn of time, sex and violence have topped the list of human interests. No matter how hard we try to ban them from our lives, they just keep surfacing again and again. In fact, the words are now so often spoken in the same breath, you could believe they're connected, as in I'm telling you, Chris, the entire world has gone ballistic because of that sexandviolence on television.

Why is that?

It's not as if we were talking about two similar notions. Real-life violence is an open-and-shut case: everyone agrees that cannon fire tends to ruin your day. Sex, however, is a very different issue: there are exceptions, but, as a rule, most people will concede that making out is far from an endangerment to the future of our species.

Yet it doesn't seem to matter that both subjects stand at opposite ends of the survival scale: they still have the same shock value, and in the age of two-second sound bytes, that's the only thing anyone notices: as many cases of art censorship have demonstrated in this country, the frontier between crime and sex easily gets blurred. Add a return to conservative values, throw in the AIDS crisis, and we all end up trying to hush our most enjoyable activity!

It just goes to show how mixed up we are. Nowadays, whenever someone snaps out of it and suggests that we could use a bit of straight talk about lovemaking, all we can drum up is yet another lecture on body plumbing.

Is that all there is to a loving relationship?

This is not to say that mastering the mechanics is an unimportant skill. By all means, we should get a grip on the basics, it would be irresponsible to think otherwise. But at the same time, you can't filter out the emotions and stick to hard data. Sex does not work that way.

So why not deal with both angles?

It's not that the sexual vocabulary is too crude; we've all heard the words before, and not one of them has ever been reported to induce brain damage.

It's not an age problem, either: according to reliable studies, 10% of grade 7 students have already had sex. The number grows to 26% in grade 9 and nearly 50% in grade 11, so it might be a good idea if our talking about it occurred before that time.

And it's not that the issue is too controversial for our classrooms. Strong philosophical, ethical and geopolitical standpoints are already covered in many courses. We do discuss violence in school: have we become so twisted that a talk on aggression feels more comfortable than one on intercourse?

As for the tired old argument which states that frank sexual debates would encourage everybody to leap into bed early, let's get a grip, okay? Since when does the act of information-gathering promote more recklessness on the part of anyone?

Still, the unease is there. No matter what reasons are invoked, most people think sex is "too personal" for anyone to discuss openly.

But, hey, wouldn't it be nice if we did?

Imagine that: you walk up to your friends, you ask them how their First Time went, and you get clear answers. No shilly- shallying, no mumbo-jumbo, no sidelong glances or nervous fits of giggles. No omissions, either, and no lies designed to improve the storyteller's reputation. The unvarnished truth, and nothing else.

Of course, you still wouldn't find surefire recipes this way, but that's because there are no such things. What you would end up with is an overview of the joys and obstacles that surface in many cases. And like they say, learning from history will help you avoid the same mistakes.

Now that's the idea on which this anthology is based. Not fiction, not make-believe, nothing that's hard to trust because strings were oh-so-obviously pulled to make the plots go a certain way. What we've done instead is simple (though it certainly wasn't easy): we've found people who were willing to tackle the subject of teen sex, and we've asked them to write about actual First Times.

Repeat: actual First Times. True stories. Real events in which the protagonists stand naked before you, and bare their souls as well as their bodies. No faking.

Let it be clear that these tales are not meant to blow you away; that would defeat the realism we were striving for. Each story merely covers what occurred at a specific time and place, in the flesh-and-blood lives of ordinary human beings. As professional writers, we may have been tempted to "improve" on the events with a few embellishments, but in the end, we chose to do without the excesses, the dramatic twists and the happy endings of B-movies and romance novels.

Stand warned, then: these stories are not rigged and sanitized to fit some squeaky-clean, latest-edition ideal. We're spanning five decades here, and sexual attitudes certainly went through a lot of changes over the years, along with the population's general awareness of safe sex practices. By today's standards, yes, some of the characters herein do make mistakes, but no, these things won't be pointed out in neatly giftwrapped morals at the end of each tale. That's real life for you: sort it out for yourselves and draw your own conclusions. Who knows? You may find that in spite of all the hoopla over the so-called generation gaps, the most important aspects of the tales, the actual feelings and emotions, remain timeless.

But, don't expect the definition of a First Time to stay the same from one story to the next. The concept is fluid, and no two people see it the same way. So we've let the authors make their own subjective rules. Any other arrangement would have been impracticable anyway: even if we had all agreed on what a First Time was (which we didn't), and even if we had been utterly accurate in describing the event (which we weren't), we still would have ended up with a very different book if we had endorsed the point of view of the other person featured in each story.

Don't chide us for failing to cover all the possible variations, either. Ultimately, there are as many types of First Times as there are people in this world. But we only had room for sixteen stories, so we were forced to settle for a very small sample. Efforts were made to cover a wide range of testimonies, but obviously, there's no way we could satisfy everyone. If your favourite flavour is not featured here, please see the invitation at the end of Volume 2.

Any more precautions we should take? Ah yes: while these stories are true, most of the characters' names (and other telltale details) have been changed to protect people's privacy. More to the point, do note that the stories are not necessarily autobiographical, whether they're told in the first person or not. For dramatic purposes, the authors may have talked about a relationship as if it was their own, but this doesn't mean that they were actually involved in it.

On the other hand, the photographs that accompany each text were really taken during the writers' youth. We could rationalize this as a gesture of solidarity with the people featured in our stories, but really, it was just a fun thing to do.

That's it. Doesn't sound so scandalous now, does it? It just goes to show: no matter how preoccupied we may be with our society's problems, love should never be too sensitive a subject for discussion.

Charles Montpetit

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To order The First Time books call 1-800-210-5277

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Victoria BC V8R 6S4
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The First Time books are available directly through Orca or can be obtained from Book Express.