Andrea Wayne von Königslöw.
Toronto, ON: Annick Press, 1997. 32 pp., paper, $5.95.
Grade preschool to 1 / Ages 3 - 6.
Review by Frances Miskolci.
Would you love a roosterAlthough past the age when any little 'roosters' in my household wake me up at the crack of dawn, the memory of those days still lingers. So too does the recollection that, at those times, a return to sleep is foremost on your mind - and furthest from the mind of the little 'rooster,' who, above all else, wants to play. You awake, shed the bliss of dreams, and begin your day, hopefully not with anger, but with love.
that wakes people up?
Yes, I'd let him drink
from my favourite cup.
Andrea Wayne von Königslöw has created a picture book whose message is simple - a child's mischievous behaviour should be treated with parental understanding and unconditional love. On each two-page spread, we encounter a playful and vibrant watercolour-and-ink illustration. Accompanying each illustration is a four-line rhyming verse describing what is often regarded as negative behaviour.
Many of the behaviours depicted are innocuous - messiness in various forms being a recurring theme - but a few behaviours might merit something more than understanding and love. For instance:
Would you love a big beeThe message here is unclear. Are we to tolerate violence as a display of anger? Do we ignore the behaviour or even reward it?
that stings when it's mad?
Yes, we would read books
and we'd snuggle with Dad.
Would you love me? is a wonderful picture book to read to young children. It can teach them they will be loved despite their minor foibles. Parents can also use it to indicate that, although children are loved unconditionally, some behaviour is not. This book can be used to initiate discussion on these behaviours and, hopefully, help children understand why the behaviours are wrong.
Frances Miskolci is a homemaker and grandmother.
Paulette Bourgeois. Illustrated by Brenda Clark.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 1996. 32 pp., paper, $4.95.
Grades preschool - 3 / Ages 3 - 8.
Review by Naomi Gerrard.
Franklin could count forwards and backwards. He could remember his phone number, his address and the names of six different shapes. But sometimes Franklin was forgetful.
Every child's favourite turtle, Franklin, discovers he has stage fright when his class is preparing to present the annual school play and he is chosen to play one of the lead roles. Despite the support of his classmates and family, all of whom are behind the project all the way, Franklin is afraid. He tries to hide his fear, but his insecurities become obvious when he seems to lose his voice the day before the show. Mr. Owl, Franklin's teacher, identifies the source of the problem and, with class encouragement and cooperation, Franklin's stage fright is understood and overcome.
This delightful children's book is well-organized, using descriptive, mature language that is still age-appropriate for the early reader. The students represented in Franklin's classroom are as colourful and diverse as in many early elementary classroom settings; they range from a fox to a brown bear to a rabbit, a squirrel, racoon, mouse, badger, beaver, goose, and, of course, Franklin, a turtle.
The classroom dynamics as described in the book are encouraging to a shy student, such as Franklin, or any potential Franklins reading the book. The classroom buzzes with activities as the various animals practice their parts for the play, encouraging each other and challenging everyone to become involved.
The illustrations are colourful and flow nicely throughout the book, some in close up, some at longer ranges, and some very busily showing classroom activities. The story and illustrations in Franklin's School Play combine delightfully to stimulate the imagination of the young child.
Naomi Gerrard has been fascinated with children's literature for years and is a reviewer for the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon award.
Bobbie Kalman and Niki Walker. Photographs by Tom Stack &
Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON: Crabtree Publishing, 1997. 32 pp., hardcover, $17.68.
Grades 1 - 6 / Ages 6 - 11.
Review by Gerri F. Young.
Another winner from the well-known Bobbie Kalman (Crabtree Publishing) this beautiful book can be read to the very young and read alone by the older child. The photographs are outstanding, and a "What is in the picture?" section at the back of the book gives more information about them.
"Rainforests of the sea" is the great descriptive title of Chapter One. The rest of the fourteen chapters explain what corals are, how corals and reefs grow and how their ecosystem works. Also described are the reef's food chain, life style, partnerships, colours, patterns, and day and night life. And, thankfully, a chapter called "Reefs in Danger" is an extremely important part of this excellent book, giving children ideas on how to save the reefs. It is clearly explained that if we buy shells, corals, or tropical saltwater fish, we encourage hunters to illegally take and sell them.
The book presents a lot of information with great photos, and would be good to read aloud. Most importantly, it educates readers on how to save the reefs. Years ago we were ignorant of these cautions, and we owe it to our world to inform the children now.
Gerri F. Young lives in Fort Nelson, B.C.
Louise Leblanc. Illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay.
Halifax, NS: Formac Publishing, 1996. 64 pp., paper, $5.95.
Grades 3 - 6 / Ages 8 - 11.
Review by Joan Payzant.
It was Black Eagle! Alive! My heart started to beat again. Faster and faster. It was terrifying! My heart was going to burst! I felt Black Eagle gently squeezing my hand in his. All of a sudden I felt feverish again. Love is really rough on you. I didn't know whether I could handle this. Whew!This first novel or "chapter" book tells of a little girl's stay in hospital. Her feelings while there are ambivalent. She wants to stay as a patient in order to attend the hospital's Halloween party with Black Eagle, a young native boy who is a cancer patient. On the other hand, Maddie wants to go home to protect her possessions from siblings and to defend her position as chief of her gang.
Several good messages are conveyed to the reader - that young patients are courageous, that it is necessary to donate money to hospitals, and that it is important to follow doctor's orders. Alternatively, some messages are not terribly healthy. Maddie's granny encourages her to recognize that she is in love, kindling a precocious awareness of girl/boy relationships in a child who still cherishes a toy bunny.
Although the topics and large print of this book are designed to attract the attention of reluctant readers, the vocabulary seems too advanced for such students. Examples of such words and phrases are: "conspiracy," "confirmed," "you monopolized the bathroom," "mother provided a more technical explanation," and "Granny reassured me." Presumably, this results from the translator's unfamiliarity with reading levels.
This book is not highly recommended because its intended readership is not clearly defined due to a vagueness in theme and inappropriate vocabulary.
Recommended with reservations.
Joan Payzant is a retired teacher-librarian living in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.
Mordecai Richler. Illustrated by Norman Eyolfson.
Toronto, ON: Penguin Books Canada, 1996. 138 pp., paper, $5.99.
Grades 3 - 7 / Ages 8 - 12.
Review by Deborah Mervold.
Jacob Two-Two considered his father a pal. After he had finished work, he often took Jacob Two-Two out for a walk.
The next afternoon, in fact, they wandered as far as his father's old neighborhood, which Noah had once described as DADDY'S HARD TIMES TOUR, a trip each child in the family had to endure at least once, obliged only to say "oooh" or "aaah" at the right moments. Now Jacob Two-Two told his father that in the week since the dreaded Mr. I. M. Greedyguts had been appointed headmaster of Privilege House, the lunches they had to eat were either tasteless, horrible, or downright disgusting, and sometimes all three, and he went on to describe a few.
"Aw," said Jacob Two-Two's father, "you only feel that way because your mother cooks such delicious meals for us. It can't be that bad."
"Ah, but it is," said Jacob Two-Two. "It is."
"Why when I was your age, the school I attended didn't even serve lunch to the children. No sirree. I had to get up in the wintry dark, shake out the ice that had formed on my blanket during the night, and make my own lunch. Usually a lettuce sandwich made with one-day-old bread, which my mother could buy more cheaply than fresh bread."
"Oooh," said Jacob Two-Two. "Oooh."
"And sometimes," said his father, "I had to share that stale bread sandwich with boys who were even poorer than we were."
"Aaah," said Jacob Two-Two. "Aaah."
"You see that building over there?" said his father, pausing to blow his nose. "It's the Stuart Biscuit Company. When I was your age, they used to let us in a side door, where we could buy a bag of broken biscuits for two cents, and sometimes a couple of us chipped in to buy a bag."
"Oooh," said Jacob Two-Two. "Oooh."
On the next street Jacob Two-Two's father said, "In winter, we used to play street hockey out here, using a piece of coal for a puck, because that's all we could afford."
"Aaah," said Jacob Two-Two. "Aaah."
"And when the game was over, we'd fight over who got to keep the piece of coal, which could be added to the furnace fires that kept our homes from freezing. Now, you, on the other hand, are lucky enough to attend the most expensive private school in town. So I don't want to hear any more complaints about your lunches. As it happens, they are prepared by my old schoolfriend Perfectly Loathsome Leo Louse, who enjoys an excellent reputation as a cook."
When they got home Jacob Two-Two took his problem to his mother.
If any parents, teachers or young readers have yet to read one of the Jacob Two-Two books by Mordecai Richler, this is a good place to start. His fourth Jacob Two-Two novel is funny and thought-provoking for adults and children alike.
The humour begins with the naming of the adult characters, like: Perfectly Loathsome Leo, the greedy entrepreneur and children hater; I. M. Greedyguts, the manipulative headmaster and children hater; Mr. Dinglebat, the eccentric next door neighbor and master spy; and Miss Sour Pickle, the teacher who admires Mr. Greedyguts.
The characters are humorous and predictable. When the children seek a solution to their deteriorating expensive private school, they discover parents are no help. So, they take on the job themselves with the help of elderly Mr. Dinglebat, who is home from a spy mission. Adults who never recognize children in disguise are both humorous and ridiculous. I found I was chuckling at both the silliness of the characters and the situation.
In their CHILD POWER capacity, Jacob Two-Two and Mr. Dinglebat work toward a solution. There is never a doubt that "good" will win and children will receive the rewards that they deserve. But what is refreshing about this book is that individuals are encouraged to make their choices to improve their own situations; waiting for outside help is not an option.
Jacob Two-Two's First Spy Case can be read alone or out loud to groups, making it a good choice for both school and public libraries. I would anticipate that readers will search for other Jacob Two-Two books to enjoy and share.
Deborah Mervold is a teacher librarian in a grade 6 to 12 school, and a grade 12 English teacher at Shellbrook Composite High School.
Toronto, ON: James Lorimer & Company, 1996. 94 pp., paper, $8.95.
Grades 3 - 8 / Ages 8 - 13.
Review by Luella Sumner.
Gillian saluted the judge, then urged Hawkeye at a canter toward the first fence. He jumped with room to spare. Gillian remembered her hands and kept them steady, letting Hawkeye come back into position at his own pace.
They circled at that same steady canter, Hawkeye changing his lead correctly after he landed. What a beauty, Gillian thought. What a brilliant, great horse! The next two jumps looked high, but Gillian knew they were not more than two feet, six inches. Hawkeye took them easily. Gillian smiled. They'd done it again. Two good jumps. They circled the far end of the arena at a rocking canter.
Hawkeye took the far fence and then cantered five strides diagonally across the arena to the fence nearest the judge. Again he jumped eagerly, giving Gillian enough time to place her hips and shoulders in a straight line, lean her weight in the stirrups and keep her hands steady. Another good jump.
They circled again. As before, Hawkeye changed his lead on landing, putting the correct foot forward at exactly the right time.
"Two more, Hawkeye. Let's ace this. Up and over. Come on, sweetie."
Hawkeye took the last two fences with energy and a great lift from his back feet. There was a burst of applause from the spectator stand. Gillian grinned. That felt fantastic. She patted Hawkeye. What a horse!
Riding Scared is one of a series of sports stories for young people. Gillian is a talented young girl, whose parents are estranged. Her mother is busy, overworked, and worrying over finances; her father is absent, but also concerned that his daughter is spending too much time with artistic pursuits, and not enough time toughening up to face the real world.
Despite her mother's lack of approval, Gillian's father decides to pay for riding lessons to teach Gillian how to jump at competitions. At first, Gillian is scared of the horses, feels inferior to another student, Mike, and is not sure that she wants to compete in shows. Gradually, with the help of her friend, Carley, and Carley's very supportive mother, Gillian learns to trust her horse, her friends, and her family, and to balance her love of painting and sketching with her developing love of show jumping. Even the obnoxious Mike earns a place in her affections.
This story will be of interest mostly to girls, and girls who love horses at that. There is a wealth of background information on show jumping, with a little art appreciation thrown in. The ups and downs of relationships within a divided family are treated with sensitivity and insight.
Luella Sumner is Head Librarian at the Red Rock Public Library, Red Rock, Ontario.
Clare Roundhill and Penny King. Edited by Bobbie Kalman.
Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON: Crabtree Publishers, 1966. 32 pp., hardcover, $17.56 each.
Animals ISBN 0-86505-851-2.
Landscapes ISBN 0-86505-853-9.
Portraits ISBN 0-86505-850-4.
Stories ISBN 0-86505-852-0.
Grades 3 - 9 / Ages 8 - 14.
Review by Grace Shaw.
Crabtree Publishing has created a feast for the eyes in its beautiful and imaginative Artists' Workshop Series of "how to create art" books for young aspirants of ages eight to fourteen. Written by Penny King and Clare Roundhill, these books - Portraits, Animals, Stories, and Landscapes - will have great appeal to teen and preteen artists and their parents. Paintings and models of art through the ages by renowned artists and young children have been incorporated into these delightful books: works of art themselves. The style is simple but informative with prescriptive sections. All four books are instructional and, along with ideas, directions and examples, contain historical exotica of art and artists.
Portraits displays six historic and modern portraits as "starting points for exploring various artistic techniques." Mosaics, self portraits, sculptures and photos give ideas to borrow and explore, and also provide inspiration and instruction to create new personal art. Picasso and Van Gogh would probably be proud to be part of this book.
Animals might be a first choice for younger creators. It features cats and kangaroos, reptiles and tigers, as well as Aboriginal and stone age art models and ideas. The book provides examples of many mediums, such as paint, tissue and clay, as well as how to mix and use them, and other great tips.
Landscapes may be the most beautiful of the series and could be appropriate for mid-teens. Impressionists and realists help the reader create a volcano, a sunrise or an alien planet.
Along with Stories, this series of books - perhaps a tad expensive for some families - would make a great gift from aunts and grandparents. Libraries and schools should own them. Buy one or all.
Grace Shaw is an instructor at Vancouver Community College.
Gilles Gauthier. Illustrated by Pierre-André Derome.
Halifax, NS: Formac Publishing, 1996. 64 pp., paper, $5.95.
Grades 4 - 7 / Ages 9 - 12.
Review by Joan Payzant.
Mr. Lotecki is a man of few words. When he does speak, he says exactly what he means without beating around the bush. My parents are used to listening to great intellectuals. Some of the people who come to our house for dinner can come up with sentences a yard long. But somehow Mr. Lotecki managed to convince them. . . .This story, translated from the French original, concerns the difficulties of Mikey Mite, who gets into trouble at school. Mikey's rebellious actions result from living with an alcoholic father. One student, Jenny, attempts to befriend Mikey, but her parents tell her to stay away from him. To the rescue comes the school janitor, Mr. Lotecki, who gets to the root of Mikey's problems - his alcoholic father.
My parents have finally realized that it is possible for someone to quit drinking for good. They also seem to understand now that Mikey is not a little terror.
This is a small, light paperback book, with cartoon-like illustrations. The type is very large, supposedly to encourage reluctant readers, but the subject matter may be disturbing for young children generally. For children who live with the problem of alcoholism in their homes, however, the book may provide some help and consolation.
Recommended with reservations.
Joan Payzant is a retired teacher-librarian living in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.
Burnstown, ON: General Store Publishing House, 1996. 311 pp., paper, $24.95.
Grades 12 and up / Ages 17 and up.
Review by Thomas F. Chambers.
This book chronicles the lives of six airmen from Atlantic Canada based in Britain who died during the war against Nazi Germany. Well illustrated, it provides a glimpse of war from a different perspective.
War is a sorry business. It is the opposite of civilized behaviour. It is an experience that no soldier, sailor, or airmen, who, having once been there, would wish on anyone. This is certainly the opinion of author Floyd Williston as he recreates for us the last days on earth of six brave men from Atlantic Canada who died tragically in one of mankind's most gruesome wars. Books on war frequently deal with the major decisions taken by political and military leaders. Through Footless Halls of Air deals instead with the ordinary, insignificant men who usually die as unsung heroes. It is a splendid book, well written and very interesting.
In order to flesh out the personalities of the men featured in his book, Williston provides many details of their personal lives and includes many quotations by the men and their acquaintances as they awaited their fate. This approach does indeed show us that these men were more than just cogs in a military machine - by showing the hopes and tears of the six men, Williston brings out the human side of war.
The inclusion of many photos of the airmen and the aircraft they died in also helps to make the story come alive. So too do the drawings of some of the bombers mentioned, with their specifications, bomb capacity, and crew size. We can easily imagine, with Williston's help, just what these men went through as they set off again and again on hazardous, often futile missions. War in Williston's hands becomes cruel and horrible and the ordinary men who gave their lives so willingly become larger than life. As we read about their moments of death, we are left wondering just what they might have accomplished had they not been plucked away in the prime of life.
Five of Williston's heroes (David Albert Romans, Albert Williston, Earle K. Reid, Fred Mifflin, and James Tuplin) flew with bomber command. The trials and tribulations they had to endure are remarkable. Foremost among these trials was the raid on Nuremberg on March 30-31, 1944, when everything that could go wrong did and one hundred and eleven Canadian airmen died. This raid, according to Williston, should never have taken place because of weather conditions. In his hands, it sounds just as futile as the infamous "Charge of the Light Brigade" during the Crimean War.
Chapter Five is about Squadron Leader, Norman Fowlow who flew a Spitfire. What made his final flight so remarkable was that his plane acted as a dive-bomber carrying a five-hundred-pound bomb. As Williston says, "such Spitfire dive-bombing sorties were almost always suicidal. The bomb, which was strapped to the plane's belly section, was unprotected and totally exposed to German anti-aircraft flak." This was how Fowlow died.
In Through Footless Halls of Air we even learn details about some of the German fighter pilots and crew who defended against the incoming allied bombers. The one we learn the most about is Major Prinz Wittgenstein, a German air ace who may have shot down Williston's brother, Albert. Williston does not hate this man, as well he might, but realizes that he too was a hero who died just as needlessly as his Canadian foes.
Through Footless Halls of Air is a story that deserves to be told. It gives war a human face and will be enjoyed by a wide audience, not just former service men.
Thomas F. Chambers is a professor of politics, economics, and history at Canadore College of Applied Arts and Technology in North Bay, Ontario.
Robert Heidbreder. Illustrated by Scot Ritchie.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 1996. 32 pp., hardcover, $14.95.
Review by Deborah Mervold.
The Candy Store
I met Laura Secord.
She gave me a cow.
The cow didn't moo.
She gave me a shoe.
The shoe was too big.
She gave me a wig.
The wig was too long.
She gave me a song.
The song didn't sing.
She gave me a ring.
The ring wasn't handy.
She gave me a candy.
The candy was great.
I asked for eight.
She said, 'No more!
I'll open a store."
According to folklore, Laura Secord and her cow walked 30 km to warn the Canadian commander of a surprise American attack during the War of 1812.
Eenie Meenie Manitoba: Playful Poems and Rollicking Rhymes is a delightful collection of verse for all ages, and the book's decidedly Canadian flavour and humorous illustrations add to the interest and enjoyment of the read.
This is kindergarten and grade one teacher Robert Heidbreder's second volume of poetry, and his belief "that kids can have fun with poetry" is actively illustrated in this collection. Many of the poems are accompanied by a sidebar suggesting actions for the poems, like bouncing a ball, clapping hands, or skipping rope.
This collection would be a good addition to school and public libraries. Children and adults will enjoy the book on their own or to share with others. It is a delightful, original, and funny gathering of distinctly Canadian content.
Deborah Mervold is a teacher librarian in a grade 6 to 12 school, and a grade 12 English teacher at Shellbrook Composite High School
From the NBNSOFT Content Awards Ejournal
For over ninety years, Booklist has been a librarian's bible of sorts, chock-ful of reviews of the latest book releases. The American Library Association's Booklist has now entered the electronic age not only via its launch onto the Web, but it now also includes reviews of the latest electronic media releases too. Browse over and you'll be able to view recently-selected reviews, feature articles, or consult a newly developed cumulative index that's not available in Booklist's print counterpart. Reviews are refreshed on a bi-weekly basis and are offered in categories such as Books for Adults, Audiovisual Media, and Reference Materials - plus back issues are available, dating back to January 1, 1996.
From the NOVAE GROUP Teachers Networking for the Future
The Virtual Global Learner Centre is a B.C. site providing online resources for teachers interested in developing a global education theme within their curricula. Topics include food security, human rights, peace and conflict resolution, gender equity and multiculturalism.
You can browse through a set of activities that can be used in the classroom, link to resources, participate in discussions, or make use of VIDEA's (the Victoria International Development Education Association) researchers to get further information on global education.
March 21 is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The "Racism: Stop It" web site, from the Canadian Federal Government (Heritage/Multiculturalism), offers lesson plans, links to other anti-racism sites, and information about how students can submit their own "stop racism" videos to a national competition.
The site is mirrored in the French language.
NCREL's Pathways to School Improvement web site recently added "Critical Issue: Finding Time for Professional Development." This issue explores the vital concern of how to carve out time, opportunity, and other resources teachers need to realize the vision of education reform. Creating professional development opportunities that educators need in order to help all students achieve the ambitious learner goals of reform will require the support and ideas of everyone. This multimedia document helps your school or district figure out where to find the time and provides examples from schools who have made some inroads.
This is the latest entry to the Pathways web site. Pathways is directed at school improvement teams or individuals working to foster meaningful learning for their students. Other topics include technology planning, parent involvement, assessment, math and science education, educating "at risk" youngsters, and safe and drug-free schools. A timesaver, Pathways summarizes research and provides practical examples for applying research.
The CCA and the Cultural Human Resources Council, in conjunction with CultureNet, are presenting one-day workshops on the electronic highway, aimed specifically at Canada's cultural sector. These sessions, to be held in a number of centres across the country, will promote the value of digital information and offer solutions for using information more efficiently within a cultural organization. They will cover general principles as well as practical instruction with real-world examples.
The workshops will provide:
Please note that workshop size will be limited to twenty participants. A nominal registration fee of $50 (plus GST) per person is payable by cheque, Visa or MasterCard.
To register for the workshop in your area, please complete the online form at the CultureNet site http://www.culturenet.ca/workshops/
CultureNet Training Workshops
Canadian Conference of the Arts
189 Laurier Avenue East
Ottawa, ON K1N 6P1
Tel (613) 238-3561
Fax (613) 238-4849
The Canadian Library Association (CLA) has announced that April 21 -27 will be Information Rights Week in Canada.
This is the fourth annual Information Rights Week. The Week is an opportunity to increase public awareness of information policy issues, such as the information highway, privacy and access to government information.
The Canadian Library Association believes that the convergence of computers and high-speed telecommunications networks provides an increased opportunity for public access to information and participation in the democratic processes of society. Conversely, access and participation may be reduced through the imposition of user fees and monopoly control.
CLA also believes that libraries and librarians can play a leadership role within the community by ensuring that the public understands the impact of these issues. To support access at the local level, CLA's Task Force on Information Policy has developed a kit which includes a poster, sample proclamation, brochure, bibliography and programming suggestions for use in libraries.
For further information, contact:
CLA Task Force on Information Policy
Vancouver Public Library
350 West Georgia Street
Vancouver, British Columbia
Telephone: (604) 331-4070
Fax: (604) 331-4080
This May, Winnipeg will host Make Art, Get Wired, Get Paid: National Conference and Training Sessions which will explore the impact of the Internet and electronic media on creative artists and cultural products.
Today's economy and the new technologies present opportunities and challenges in the creation, marketing and protection of, and payment for art and cultural products.
This conference is directed toward creators and caretakers of art and culture. Seminars, workshops, and discussions will be presented by technology experts, lawyers, copyright collectives, marketing specialists, curators, and artists in many disciplines, among them literature, film, music and the visual arts.
The conference will feature a keynote address by the renowned author Douglas Coupland. Hands-on training sessions will be offered in various areas, including web page design. There will be displays and special events in conjunction with the conference. Tickets for the keynote address may be bought separately.
To make this important event accessible to creative artists registration rates are discounted for members of cultural arts organizations in all media. Registration and display spaces are limited, and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Registration includes Douglas Coupland's keynote address, training sessions will require separate registration.
Members of cultural organizations and students:
$50 until April 15th
$l00 after April 15th
$125 at the door
Institutions and all others:
To register, or for more information, please phone or fax (204) 992-2146.
Copyright © 1997 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
The Manitoba Library Association
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