This Remembrance Day is probably the last occasion to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War. Titles have been published to mark that anniversary for some time -- starting long before the electronic CM got up and running -- and they're still coming out. So there'll be more reviews treating the subject appearing in the magazine for a while yet.
In war, resolution; in defeat, defiance; in victory, magnanimity; in peace, goodwill.As always, if you have comments or suggestions on anything published in CM, send e mail to the address beneath my name.
-- Duncan Thornton, Editor
Toni and the Dandelions.
Vivian Hitchman. Illustrations by Steve Pilcher.
Music composed by Mark Ferguson.
Oakville: Grassroots Press, 1994. 36pp, cloth.
$19.95 / $25.95 with cassette / $34.95 with cassette and Teacher's Activity kit.
ISBN 0-9695997-1-4 (book).
ISBN 0-9695997-2-2 (cassette).
ISBN 0-9695997-0-6 (book and cassette).
ISBN 0-9695997-3-0 (teacher's kit, book, and cassette).
Distribution by Addison-Wesley Publishers.
Grades K - 2 / Ages 4 - 8.
Review by Brenda Partridge.
Toni loves dandelions. Every spring, Toni and her pet cat, Roop, play with the dandelions in the orchard. Toni serves dandelion soup, dandelion salad and dandelion tea. She makes dandelion bracelets, necklaces and flowery crowns. When the dandelion flowers turn white, Toni blows the fluffy seeds into the air. As they float away she whirls and twirls, dancing the dandelion twirl.
"A weed is just a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson
As spring emerges into summer and the lawns and fields fill with golden dandelions, young children spend much time picking and presenting the colourful weeds to their favourite adults. When the golden heads turn to white fluff , those same young children delight in blowing the dandelion seeds into the world. To provide a permanent recollection of such memories, Vivian Hitchman has written a delightful, fanciful adventure of a young girl called Toni.
Brenda Partridge is a Library-Resource teacher at Percy Centennial Public School in Warkworth, Ontario.
In Flanders Fields:
The story of the Poem by John McCrae.
Linda Granfield. Illustrated by Janet Wilson.
Toronto: Lester Publishing, 1995. 32pp, cloth, 16.95.
Grades 4 and Up / Ages 8 to Adult.
Review by Lorraine Douglas.
Ypres, a fourteenth-century town encircled by a moat, had been the home of a beautiful medieval cathedral and Cloth Hall. By the time John McCrae arrived in Flanders, however, the town, called "Wipers" by the soldiers, was ruined and refugees streamed from it. Troops were camped not far from the Yser Canal, where they cooked meals, wrote letters to loved ones, and strengthened friendships that, in some instances, began back in their homeland.
This beautiful tribute to one of the most popular poems ever written presents the story of its creator against the background of the First World War. John McCrae was an idealistic Canadian doctor who wrote the poem in 1915 shortly after his friend Lieutenant Alexis Helmer had died at Ypres. The text of the poem and accompanying paintings are interwoven through the book. The artist visited Flanders and has recreated the dark landscape of the war in oil paintings filled with expressive brushstrokes.
Lorraine Douglas is Youth Services Coordinator for the Winnipeg Public Library.
The Night Voyagers.
Toronto: Lester Publishing, 1995. 220pp, paper boards, $16.95.
ISBN 1-895555-69-8. CIP.
Ages 11 - 14 / Grades 6 - 9.
Review by Ted Monkhouse.
Many of us recall the stream of political refugees fleeing the death squads of the U.S. supported, right-wing regimes of Guatemala and El Salvador. Many of us recall the "underground railway" to Canada, set up by the sanctuary movement of predominantly American churches and synagogues hiding these refugees from U.S. immigration authorities, who feared they might be left-wing extremists or Communists. Many of us will recall newspaper accounts of these refugees holed up in church basements and safe houses awaiting Canadian immigration hearings. Some of us will also recall their deportations, having been tricked into signing "deportation" documents. Most of us will recall this as an era of soul-searching over the immigration issue.
Recommended for use in discussion about immigration and multicultural issues.
Ted Monkhouse is a retired teacher-librarian in Guelph, Ontario.
Drama by Dennis Foon.
Winnipeg: Blizzard Publishing, 1995. 58pp, paper, $10.95.
Ages 16 to Adult / Grades 11 and Up.
Review by Jennifer Sullivan.
The wannabe comes up to us, grinning. Pulls out this long bread knife, one of those flimsy things from a dollar store with a long plastic handle. Like ooo we're scared man, we were cracking up. The kid was laughing too, nervous like. . . And then he slides it into my brother's gut.
Dennis Foon, author of New Canadian Kid and Skin and Liars, gives us a violent jolt into the world of adolescence with his new play, War. Growing up to be a man is not easy in a society where brutality and aggression are a means of survival and dreams are held at knife-point.
Jennifer Sullivan has a Master's degree in English Literature and works within the Children's Literature Service of the National Library of Canada.
If Only I Were an Indian
Directed by John Paskievich.
Winnipeg: National Film Board of Canada, 1995. 80 minutes.
Currently in theatrical distribution; contact the NFB for pricing and availability.
Grades 7 and Up / Ages 11 - Adult.
Review by Charmagne de Veer.
"The prophecy stated that our people would suffer under this domination of the white people. And at that time the world would have been in such a state that a lot of things were destroyed, that white people would come to the Indian and learn about the ways of our people. . .
A group of Czechs and Slovaks, disenchanted with both communism and its aftermath, gathers in a field to build and live in teepees, create and smoke peace pipes -- to get in touch with the North American aboriginal way of life and live it. When three aboriginal elders from Manitoba go to visit them, a film crew documents the trip and thus If Only I Were an Indian is born.
As a child, I didn't want to be an astronaut . . . but neither did I want to be a world record breaking potato sorter . . . we had no role models except from the Indians of those stories.
Charmagne de Veer is a freelance writer and editor who currently writes for Herizons magazine.
An interview with filmmaker John Paskievich appears in this issue of CM
No Man's Land
The Battlefield Paintings of
Mary Riter Hamilton
Angela Davis and Sarah McKinnon
Six months after the end of the First World War, Mary Riter Hamilton undertook a "special mission" for the War Amputations Club of British Columbia. Her task was to provide paintings of the battlefields of France and Belgium for publication in a veterans' magazine, The Gold Stripe. She subsequently stayed in Europe for seven years, producing over 300 battlefield paintings during the years 1919 to 1922. A number of the first series of pictures were exhibited in Vancouver and Victoria in 1920 and reproduced in The Gold Stripe in the same year. Exhibitions were also held in England and France in 1922 and 1923.
For more information about the exhibition or the War Amps of Canada send email to Canada's War Museum.
Canada and the Wars
1995 has seen many titles published that relate to the First or Second World Wars, and Canada's role in them -- in fact, the titles are still coming in, and so there will be more reviews yet to appear in CM. But this is a brief list of the what we've covered so far:
Interview: John Paskievich
director of If Only I Were an Indian
CM interviewed award-winning director John Paskievich November 9th, the night before the launch of If Only I Were an Indian at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.
CM: During the movie the view of these Europeans who dress up as Indians changes, from seeing them from the outside, as somewhat absurd, to seeing them more sympathetically, more as they see themselves. Did your perspective change while you were making the film?
Paskievich: It changed, but not so much when I was making the movie, as when I was doing the actual research. I went over there on Aeroplan points, actually, just to see what these Czechs and Slovaks were about -- I thought I might just make a novelty piece on a bunch of eccentrics. But while I was researching them, I found there was a lot there, and that these individuals were incredibly articulate and knowledgable about the world, and my attitude changed.
CM: How would you sum up the attitude of the native elders?
Paskievich: At first they were sceptical. They had an open mind, but still a sceptical attitude. But then they really liked these people, they liked what they saw and the hard work the Indian activity involves -- everything over there is done by hand; here often the native artifacts are made in a much more commercial fashion. Even bead-work is something that relies on industrial goods. But the Czechs and Slovaks use only quills, rather than beads, for decoration. Though they have to use hedgehog quills, because there aren't any porcupines.
CM: What did you take away from making If Only I Were an Indian?
Paskievich: I learned that all things are possible in human affairs in terms of sociology or anthropology. That all things are possible and too often we use boxes when we talk about issues like racism, for example. That to me is always a stupid issue; there's no such thing as race; people all blend together. But people in power seem to want to box people in, whether it's to keep power, or to help people, or to fight oppression. The whole issue of cultural appropriation has to do with boxes. I find the box thinking clumsy, and it doesn't make any sense. For instance at the Art Gallery opening (on November 10th), a company run by natives in Manitoba is supplying the soft drinks -- they've adopted white business culture. I wanted that because it seemed to me to parallel what these Czechs and Slovaks were doing in adopting native culture.
CM: This is a film about culture; I have to ask what your own cultural background is.
Paskievich: I grew up in an ethnic, working-class culture; I emigrated as a boy, after the war, in the fifties. My parents were illiterate refugees. The were victims of an ideology as well. From Ukraine. That's where some of my perspective comes from.
CM: Your film couldn't help but remind me that in North America, thousands of people try to recreate European medieval history in the Society for Creative Anachronism; and here were Europeans trying to recreate North American history . . .
Paskievich: I think you're going to see more of that; you're going to see all kinds of people seeking a kind of cultural intimacy of their own. In a way, we don't have a culture anymore. We have high culture, with the opera and the symphony; and we have low culture, with things like hockey and baseball; and then we have pop culture, which is different from popular culture -- pop culture is all business. What we don't have is a culture where all people get together and have rituals. Churches used to provide that, but I think most people now, that great middle class, are culture-less. Nobody knows how to dance or sing at ritual events . . .
A review of If Only I Were an Indian appears in this issue of CM
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.)
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.
Question #8 from 2 weeks ago was the following:
What are the next two integers? 21, 20, 18, 15, 11, 6, __, __
Subtract 1, then 2, then 3,..from a number to get the next number so the last 2 integers are 0 and -7
What are the next three letters in this set?
B, C, D, F, G, H, J, K, L, M, __, __, __
Please remember to send your response by 8:00 am Friday, November 17 to:
Andrea Pollock and Alex Nazarov
Royal West Academy, Montreal West, Quebec.
Steve Caldwell, the coordinator of the Trivia Contest, 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.
Therefore we might have missed some correct answers this week and they will be recognized when we receive them. In light of this could respondents please use the Steve_Caldwell@colby.on.infoshare.ca address. We apologize to those who use The Village to receive the weekly question for any inconvenience.
When we hear the name Ottawa we generally think of the capital city or the river but there are also the Ottawa Islands.
In what body of water are the Ottawa Islands found?
DUE DATE FOR THIS ANSWER: November 18, 1995
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.
The paper version of CM organized reviews of non-fiction material by broad subject areas and by grade level. Could you do something like this, especially in accumulations of back issues?
-- Louise Shah, Brandon, Manitoba
As you suggest, we will be making our indexing more ambitious as our backlist grows larger. We are also considering more effective ways to present our advertising, perhaps with banners at the top of a page, or, in the e-mail version, before the article the ad accompanies. -- DT
We welcome all feedback -- just send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Manitoba Library Association