CM . . .
. Volume XXIII Number 27. . . .March 24, 2017
Cyrus Eaton: Champion for Peace.
Halifax, NS: Nimbus, 2016.
40 pp., hardcover, $19.95.
Eaton, Cyrus Stephen, 1883-1979 -Juvenile literature.
Industrialists-United States-Biography-Juvenile literature.
Pacifists-United States-Biography-Juvenile literature.
Nobel Prize winners-United States-Biography-Juvenile literature.
Nobel Prize winners-Canada-Biography-Juvenile literature.
Pugwash (N.S.)-Biography-Juvenile literature.
Grades 2-5 / Ages 7-10.
Review by Janet Eastwood.
Even though Cyrus made money in rubber, steel, electricity, and finance, he thought of himself as a farmer. He raised cattle and geese, and took great joy in being close to the land. The world seemed like a big farm to him, and all its people were one big family. He thought if families can work through disagreements, countries can too.
Millionaire and philanthropist Cyrus Eaton’s life, with a focus on his efforts to bring scientists and world leaders together against nuclear weapons, is the subject of this nonfiction picturebook, which serves as a broad overview of, and introduction to, its topic.
The story follows Eaton’s life in chronological order, beginning with a fire in 1890 that menaced a six-year-old Eaton’s family home. This event is used to illustrate a theme running throughout the narration of Eaton’s life – that of caring people working together for a common goal. The narrative focus shifts toward the end of the book toward the peace conferences started by Eaton, and ends without mentioning Eaton’s death. End pages include a timeline of Eaton’s life, and a glossary. The glossary is not entirely child-friendly. Although the narrative uses familiar words such as “scientist” in place of the harder to define “physicist”, some of the glossary definitions use terms and turns of phrase that might baffle an adult reader.
Each doublespread is illustrated in full colour. Many of the paintings take up almost the entire doublespread, depicting a scene from the life of Cyrus Eaton. They add visual background to the story, though little new information. Most pages have an unusually high wordcount, averaging well above 90 words per doublespread; some pages have over 200 words. The density of the text and the vocabulary suggest that this is a picturebook intended for an audience capable of reading chapter books. Parents reading to small children are unlikely to be able to finish reading one page before the next is turned.
Janet Eastwood is a graduate of the Master of Children’s Literature program at the University of British Columbia.
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