CM Magazine
Table of Contents

Volume III Number 14
March 14, 1997

Book Reviews

cdnAlice Falls Apart.
Perry Nodelman. Illustrated by Stuart Duncan.
Review by Naomi Gerrard.
Grades preschool to 3 / Ages 3 - 8.

cdnSarah and the People of Sand River.
Bill Valgardson. Illustrated by Ian Wallace.
Review by Michele F. Kallio.
Grades K - 4 / Ages 5 - 9.

cdnSteel Drums And Ice Skates.
Dirk McLean. Illustrated by Ho Che Anderson.
Review by Naomi Gerrard.
Grades 1 - 4 / Ages 6 - 9.

cdnMerlin's Castle.
Laszlo Gal.
Review by Jo-Anne Mary Benson.
Grades K - 6 / Ages 5 - 11.

cdnA Mountain Alphabet.
Margriet Ruurs. Illustrated by Andrew Kiss.
Review by Deborah Mervold.
Grades 1 and up / Ages 6 and up.

cdnThe Fish Princess.
Irene N. Watts. Illustrated by Steve Mennie.
Review by Jennifer Johnson.
Grades 1 and up / Ages 6 and up.

intDick King-Smith's Animal Friends.
Dick King-Smith and Anita Jeram.
Review by Michele F. Kallio.
Grades 2 - 4 / Ages 7 - 9.

cdnThe Enchanted Horses.
Chrystine Brouillet. Illustrated by Nathalie Gagnon.
Translated by Linda Gaboriau.
Review by Jennifer Johnson.
Grades 3 - 6 / Ages 8 - 11.

cdnWater Fight!
Michele Martin Bossley.
Review by Deborah Mervold.
Grades 3 - 6 / Ages 8 - 11.

cdnWind Shifter.
Linda Smith.
Review by Jo-Anne Mary Benson.
Grades 6 and up / Ages 11 and up.

CD-ROM Review

cdnKlondike Gold Rush.
IDON East Corporation.
Review by Harriet Zaidman.
Grades 6 - 12 / Ages 11 - 18.


cdn"Brother Can You Spare a Dime?"
Getting the Inside Story on the Depression in Manitoba.
John Einarson and the Association for Manitoba Archievs.
Feature by Martha McLeod and Ian Stewart.


cdnBulletin Board.

cdnWith Flying Colours.
A Classroom Kit on Canadian Symbols.

cdnBridging the Gap: Information Rich but Knowledge Poor.
IASL/ATLC Conference, July 6 - 11, 1997.

cdnBest Bets of 1996.
Selected by the OLA Canadian Materials Committee.

cdnAmelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award.
List of 1996 nominees announced.

In this week's CM

This week's CM features a number of books for young readers that address some of the issues they may confront in their everyday lives. The themes of difference and exclusion are explored in many of the titles. These differences are based on many of the realities of contemporary Canadian life - the immigrant experience, emotional and cultural adaptation, and sibling rivalry.

We also tell you about two projects - one national and one regional - that provide free educational kits to Canadian schools. With Flying Colours produced by the Department of Canadian Heritage is designed to help Canadian students come to a greater understanding and appreciation of our national symbols.

"Brother Can You Spare A Dime?" produced by the Association for Manitoba Archives provides students with primary archival resources and teachers with an opportunity to make history come alive.

As always, if you have any comments on any of our reviews or features, please write.

Peter Tittenberger

Book Review

Alice Falls Apart.

Perry Nodelman. Illustrated by Stuart Duncan.
Winnipeg, MB: Bain & Cox, 1996. 32 pp., hardcover, $15.95.
ISBN 0-92136-865-8.

Grades preschool to 3 / Ages 3 - 8.
Review by Naomi Gerrard.

** /4

Alice is a girl with many personalities. She awakens for school one day, rolls over, and bumps into a sound asleep somebody who looks just like herself.

But it was a school day, so Alice punched the sleepy Alice until she woke up, and then she made sure that the sleepy Alice got dressed almost as fast as she did herself.

After breakfast the two Alices went outside and there was another Alice climbing the crabapple tree. Alice told this new Alice that Poppa didn't let her climb that tree because it was too dangerous.

The new Alice said, "So What?"

Alice personalities continue to appear, including a mad Alice, a nervous Alice, and a nasty Alice. By the time Alice gets home from school there are fourteen Alices.
They all tried to get through the front door at the same time. It made a lot of noise. Poppy shouted from the kitchen.

"Alice, Alice, Alice! What a racket! I had a hard day, and I have a headache. You need to get a grip on yourself, Alice! Right now, Alice!"

After some confusion just one Alice walked into the kitchen, smiled sweetly at Poppa, and said "Boy, am I glad to see you!"

This is an intriguing idea for a picture book, but, for this reviewer, Alice Falls Apart could use more editing. The book becomes confusing with so many Alices arriving on the scene. The end, however, offers an interesting twist when a second Poppa appears, an angry, grumpy one opposed to the kind, huggable Poppa who eats another cookie with one of the Alices.

The illustrations are expressive, showing the various Alice moods and personalities very well. This book would be better understood by 7 and 8 year old children, rather than a 3 or 4 year old audience.

Recommended with reservations.

Naomi Gerrard has been fascinated with children's literature for years and is a reviewer for the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon award.

Book Review

Steel Drums And Ice Skates.

Dirk McLean. Illustrated by Ho Che Anderson.
Toronto, ON: Groundwood Books, 1996. 32pp., laminated paper over boards, $13.95.
ISBN 0-88899-258-0.

Grades 1 - 4 / Ages 6 - 9.
Review by Naomi Gerrard.

**** /4


Holly jumped up and down with joy, "I'm going Canada! I'm going Canada!" she shouted. Holly had been living with Tanty Millie in Trinidad for a few years after her parents left for Toronto. Now she was joining her parents in Toronto!

Holly said good bye to her relatives who lived outside Port-of Spain, her classmates, her Brownie buddies, her favorite teachers Mrs. Yhap Fung, and Old Tulum the snow-cone man in front of her school. "Holly darlin," he said,"I never been to Canada, but from what I hear you will have to wear five school uniforms at the same time, 'cause it soo cold." Then he started to shiver, knocking his teeth together and hopping from one foot to the other.

Holly has spent her life in Trinidad. When her parents came to Canada to find work, she stayed behind with her Tanty Millie. One day, just before the holidays, her parents send for her to come and join them. Holly wants to pack all her possessions into the biggest suitcase she owns: her calypso and steelband tapes, a christmas cake for her parents, and a Trinidad flag so she won't forget the colours - red, white and black.

Arriving in Canada, Holly is hugged by her mom and dad and feels safe and happy to join them. She dresses in her new winter gear and enjoys exploring this world of snow, breathing little clouds that grow around her mouth in a land where the trees have no leaves.

With Holly's dad away as a Greyhound bus driver and her mother at work, Holly finds herself sad and lonely in Sita's care. Then, Sita takes Holly to city hall where children and adults are ice-skating, including a group of girls dressed in brownie dresses.

"I used to be a Brownie back in Trinidad," Holly told Sita.

"Really? Well, I'll take you to meet the troop near us, after the holidays." Holly shook her head and sat on a bench.

"I don't care about being a Brownie." She stared at the dull grey sky. Once again, the sun was hiding. "I wish I was back in Trinidad." she whispered.

"Don't you like it here, Holly?"

"No! I like walking in the snow with you and eating ice-cream cones and walking through the stores in the Eaton centre and all that. But my mom and dad work all the time. And when Dad's home he is sleeping and I'm all alone. Why did they send for me? I thought things would be different."
Eventually, Holly begins to master living in Canada, learning to ice skate. Then, on Christmas Eve morning, her dad comes home with a Christmas tree and boxes of decorations.
They sang Christmas carols as they decorated the tree. Holly loved singing "O Little Town of Bethlehem." Next she changed the carol to "O Little Town of Port-of-Spain." Then she and Dad changed the words to "O Little Town of To-ron-to."

Under the flashing Christmas tree, Holly opened her presents. The best was a pair of white leather ice skates. The phone rang. Holly answered it. And there was Tanty Millie.

"Merry Christmas, Tanty Millie. I miss you sooooo much!"

"Me, too, child, a whole bunch. And Merry Christmas to you. I'll visit you around Easter, after the cold-cold weather gone. In the meantime, be good to your mother and father 'cause they love you."

This story is colourful with the language and music of Trinidad. We get a realistic picture of Holly's immigration to Toronto and her slow and sometimes painful adaptation to the customs and culture of Canada. It is a story well worth thinking about with our children.

Highly recommended.

Naomi Gerrard has been fascinated with children's literature for years and is a reviewer for the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon award.

Book Review

Merlin's Castle.

Laszlo Gal.
Toronto, ON: Stoddart Publishing Canada, l995. 32 pp., hardcover, $18.95.
ISBN 0-7737-285-2.

Grades K - 6 / Ages 5 - 11.
Review by Jo-Anne Mary Benson.

*** /4


"We turned, and there was mighty Donatello towering over us. In all the confusion he had become the most wonderful storybook dragon of all time. His blue wings, shimmered in the sunlight as they spread and carried him high above us. He was full of joy and best of all, he was our friend."

But all of a sudden, he cried out in pain and crumpled to the ground."

What happens if we make a wish on a Christmas star? Raffaella and her brother Marco believe that wishes made on Christmas Eve are most likely to come true. In Merlin's Castle, Christmas Eve becomes a wonderful time of adventure for the children and their pet lizard Donatello. When all three wish for Donatello to be big and powerful, the children are magically transported into a castle and the company of the famous wizard Merlin.

From the opening page, award-winning author Laszlo Gal beautifully entrances the reader by implying that the story about to be told is out of the ordinary. Gal sustains interest in the book by incorporating elements of suspense, action, and drama throughout.

One admirable feature of the book is the promotion of the pleasures of reading. By using the crystal ball given to them, the characters magically enter into different books and travel through time to fulfil their wishes. This concept is particularly appealing to children in the five to eleven age group as their exposure to books is already well established, and, therefore, the reader's imagination can easily be activated.

Excitement for Marco and Raffaella take many forms as they walk on rainbows, travel in flying ships, and meet a king. Donatello's wish to be big and powerful is fulfilled, but the story takes a moving twist when Donatello is asked to stay in Merlin's castle to protect the king. For Donatello, the excitement of the imaginary world is strong, yet his love for Marco and Raffaella is stronger. Donatello chooses to go home, even though he will be small again. This conclusion provides an emotional ending that reinforces the strong relationship between the children and their pet.

The illustrations, done by the author, demonstrate that Gal excels as a writer and an illustrator. Pastel shades combined with a textured style of drawing are excellent choices for conveying the fantasy element of the story. In many places, a deliberate absence of detail, draws attention to the the main parts of the illustration. In other illustrations, the attention to detail is very evident. Merlin's Castle is an enjoyable indulgence and one that can be readily repeated.


Jo-Anne Mary Benson is a writer/reviewer for North American magazines, newspapers, and journals.

Book Review

A Mountain Alphabet.

Margriet Ruurs. Illustrated by Andrew Kiss.
Toronto, ON: Tundra Books, 1996. 32pp., paper, $8.95.
ISBN 0-88776-384-7.

Grades 1 and up / Ages 6 and up.
Review by Deborah Mervold.

**** /4


A Avalanche slopes are aglow with aspen in autumn.
B A black bear browses on berries in the boreal forest.
C Climbers cling to the canyon wall.
P We picnic by a parking lot in the provincial park.
S Spawning salmon slowly swim up the shallow creek.

This delightful combination of words and paintings is a must for beginning readers, mountain lovers and explorers of all ages. Each painting combines with text to illustrate one of the 26 letters of the alphabet. Readers can search each painting for plants and animals whose names start with the featured letter and find the letter of the alphabet hidden in each picture.

The quality of the paintings and text could each stand alone; combined they both interest and educate the reader. In her introduction, Margriet Ruurs offers a brief explanation of North American mountains and their charm. At the end of the alphabet section, a list of the items on each page dealing with the dedicated letter is included, as is a further explanation of each painting. These explanatory pages increase the educational aspect of this volume, making it suitable for a variety of age groups.

The love of wildlife and the outdoors is obvious in both the paintings and the text. This volume would make an excellent addition to any library and a delightful gift to give or receive.

Highly recommended.

Deborah Mervold is a teacher-librarian in a grade 6 to 12 school and a grade 12 English teacher at Shellbrook Composite High School.

Book Review

Dick King-Smith's Animal Friends.

Dick King-Smith and Anita Jeram.
Cambridge, Mass: Candlewick Press, 1996. 95 pp., clothbound, $24.99.
ISBN 1-56402-9603.

Grades 2 - 4 / Ages 7 - 9.
Review by Michele F. Kallio.

** /4

This well illustrated volume tells 31 true life animal stories.

Some of the stories have a light-hearted tone, yet others speak of animal abuse and death. The stories speak of cats, dogs, cows, pigs, zebras and other animals, each the hero or heroine of its own story. Librarians may find they might want to direct young readers to stories within their level of understanding. As a book of stories and anecdotes, it is delightful, but should not be taken to reveal true animal behaviour.

The print is clear and appropriate for the age of potential readers. The 8.5 inch by 10.5 inch format is just right for little hands although the $24.99 price tag may be a bit high for some school libraries.

Recommended with reservations.

Michele F. Kallio is a former teacher-librarian living in Blacks Harbour, New Brunswick.

Book Review

Sarah and the People of Sand River.

Bill Valgardson. Illustrated by Ian Wallace.
Toronto, ON: Groundwood, 1996. 56 pp. clothbound, $16.95.
ISBN 0-88899-255-6.

Grades 2 - 7 / Ages 7 - 12.
Review by Michele F. Kallio.

**** /4


"Before the woman died, she took a pendant of Mary and the Christ child from around her neck and gave it to Sarah's grandmother. It was of brightly coloured beads stitched on deer hide. "This is all I have," the woman said , "But always wear it. If any of my people see it, they will know you are a friend."
Twelve year old Sarah begins her adventure as she prepares to leave her home on the shores of Lake Winnipeg. Sarah loves living by the lake, but must go to Winnipeg to learn to be a proper young woman and speak English. The news she must leave reminds Sarah of her grandparents' stories of their arrival in Canada during the Icelandic immigration of the 1870's. Without the help of the native people along Sand River, Sarah's family would have died. In return, when the native people were stricken by a smallpox epidemic, Sarah's family took them in and did what they could for them.

In Winnipeg, Sarah boards with a cruel widow, Mrs. Simpson, and her spoiled daughter, Eugenie. Her life soon becomes a nightmare as Sarah is exploited and abused. When Eugenie takes the pendant Sarah has worn since her mother's death, Sarah loses all hope. With the help of a raven and a mysterious native man and woman, the story comes to a happy resolution.

The story of Sarah's dislocation and the parallel story of the dislocation experienced by immigrants, make Sarah and the People of Sand River an important resource in illustrating the hardships caused by a move to a new home. It is with the care and help of empathetic spirits, both real and spiritual, that the transition to a new society is eased.

Ian Wallace's soft and subtle illustrations in pencil, watercolour and gouache convey the magic and dignity of this literary fairy tale.

Highly recommended.

Michele F. Kallio is a former teacher-librarian living in Blacks Harbour, New Brunswick.

Book Review

The Enchanted Horses.

Chrystine Brouillet. Illustrated by Nathalie Gagnon. Translated by Linda Gaboriau.
Charlottetown, PEI: Ragweed Press, l996. 96 pp., paper, $6.95.
ISBN 0-921556-63-2.

Grades 3 - 6 / Ages 5 - 12.
Review by Jennifer Johnson.

* /4


Just then the announcer said there would be a delay in announcing the results of the race. The wait was awful. It seemed to go on forever. Then the announcer came back on the loudspeaker. Lightning III was the winner. "But he came in second " protested Arthur. "And . . ." before Arthur could finish his sentence they announced that Pegasus had been disqualified. The race officials had found that he'd run the race on drugs. "What!" yelped Eliza. "That's impossible!"

Andrea and Arthur are thrilled by the opportunity to visit former schoolmate Eliza at her home in the country. After their first hellos, they are anxious to get out to the riding stables. Their first ride is a short one as Eliza wants to be back home to greet her uncle Edward who was arriving that day from France with his race horse, Pegasus. Things begin to go very wrong when Pegasus runs his first race and subsequently tests positive for drugs. Although the children want to help, they are encouraged by Eliza's mother to attend a party hosted by the new owner of the mansion near Four Oaks corner. Mr. Lemnir talks about his plans for his stables and immediately gains Eliza's interest. What intrigues Arthur and Andrea is an ornate divinatory plate which is locked up in the mansion library. As reporter and photographer for the school newsletter, "The Sherlock," Arthur and Andrea are keen detectives and want to try the divinatory plate to help them discover who drugged Pegasus. Mr. Lemnir agrees only to forecast Eliza's future. He predicts her success as an Olympic champion riding her beloved horse, Mercury. Eliza's plans are shattered when she discovers that Mercury has been stolen during the night. Mr Lemnir has a magical solution for the recovery of Mercury, but his skills at deceipt are not equal to the detective skills of Andrea and Arthur.

Chrystine Brouillet is the experienced author of novels for children and adults. Her publications with La Courte Echelle include numerous mysteries in the Roman Jeunesse series. Her readers are enthusiastic about her work, and have twice voted her their Favourite Author with the Signet d'or Award. The Enchanted Horses, a translation of Les chevaux enchantes, originally published in l994, will not win as enthusiastic a readership in the English translation. As the narrator, Andrea never comes into clear focus. She intersperses her storytelling of the mystery plot with glimpses of her home life and her feelings, but these are apparently thrown in at random and are never explored. What we learn of Arthur and Eliza is again, sketchy, and neither child takes on a distinctive voice of his/her own.

The plot has many components which should attract young readers: horses, a mansion, a magical element and independence. In this case, less would have been more, as the extra problems, ranging from the drugging and theft of Pegasus to the intentional hit-and-run which leaves Edward injured, overload the storyline. The female police officer, a feature of Brouillet's plots, is very competent and forthright with the children, but, again, she is introduced late in the story and serves more to provide a cautionary component than as a strong character. The mix of the alchemy/supernatural element with the mystery might have had more success had Lemnir been a more credible character. His menace was apparent from the start, but he appears primarily as a figure of ridicule. He is dismissed in a much too hasty conclusion which also telescopes a considerably complicated plot into four or five paragraphs.

The partnership between Brouillet and Nathalie Gagnon with La Courte Echelle is a long-standing one. Gagnon is a distinctive illustrator for Brouillet and is associated with many of the Roman Jeunesse series. Gagnon's pen and ink drawings abound in the book, creating quirky, fun characters in hand-drawn borders, which fade in and out around the scenes. The drawings are an enhancement within the text, but are not served well by the coloured cover design which diminishes their effectiveness. The book cover is not attractive and will not sell itself on paperback racks.

Linda Gaboriau is an experienced translator of texts for Brouillet and for Ragweed Press as a publisher. In this case, some of the flatness of the prose may be a result of the difficulties of the text itself, rather than the translation.

The Enchanted Horses may gain a readership among junior fiction readers based on the melange of mystery, magic, and horses; however, the flat style, complicated and uneven plot, and thin characterization may discourage its intended audience.

Recommended with reservations.

Jennifer Johnson works as a librarian in Ottawa, Ontario.

Book Review

Water Fight!

Michele Martin Bossley.
Toronto, ON: James Lorimer and Company, 1996. 72 pp., paperback, $8.95.
ISBN 1-55028-524-6.

Grades 3 - 6 / Ages 8 - 11.
Review by Deborah Mervold.

*** /4


I glanced quickly up and down the street. No one was in sight. I slowly edged up the front steps of our house and tried the doorknob. It was unlocked. I stifled a groan. That meant my mom was home.

Today was report card day, and I wasn't anxious to face my mother over my marks again. It was like facing off against Wayne Gretzky with a broom handle instead of a hockey stick. There was just no way for me to win.

If I was very, very lucky, I might be able to sneak inside without her hearing me. Then I could quietly bury my report card in the kitchen garbage can. I figured that once it was drowned in mouldy spaghetti sauce, old potato peelings, and other gross leftovers, the chances of my mother wanting to read it were slim.

I said a quick prayer and slowly turned the knob. The door opened with barely a creak. I breathed as softly as I could, slipped off my sneakers, and suddenly came face to face with my mother.

"All right! Hand it over."

"Yikes!" I yelped, my nerves shattered. Mom seemed to have popped out of nowhere. One minute the front hall was empty, the next there she was bellowing in my ear.

"Hand what over?" I said, with a weak attempt at innocence.

Mom crossed her arms over her flannel workshirt. "You know what. The last time report cards were given out, you practically climbed in the basement window to avoid me."

I grimaced and reached into the back pocket of my jeans, where I'd crumpled, scrunched, and wedged my report card into a compact little ball.

"Hey, Mom! Guess what?" Just then my sister Melissa raced through the back door and bounced into the hall. She flashed her own report card and a brilliant, straight-toothed, white smile at my mother.

I sighed. While normally I'd be thankful for the interruption, play-by-play coverage of Melissa's academic greatness didn't strike me as a good idea. For one thing, it would make my report card look even worse: for another, it was really irritating.

This novel by Michele Martin Bossley includes many positive attributes for children in this age group. A novel about growing up, it discusses the difficulty in family living when one child feels inferior to a sibling, and also the difficulty when one parent loses a job. The lack of family communication provides tense moments for Josie when she feels that she has to give up the one thing that she is good at - competitive swimming.

The solution to Josie's problem is believable - as is the process the family works through to achieve it. The approach that Josie takes to be better than her sister, Melissa is also plausible. The humour of a science fair project "gone wrong" adds to the situation. The characters, although not fully developed, are multi-dimensional and possess qualities with which readers will identify and recognize. As an adult reader, I wanted to know more about the background of Josie and Melissa and more about their rivalry.

Set in western Canada, this novel is another title in the Lorimer Sports Stories series. This is Bossley's third novel in the series and has an appealing sports aspect. Her interest and knowledge about competitive swimming are obvious throughout the novel. Water Fight! would be a suitable addition to public and school libraries as well as individual collections. Useful in a classroom setting, the relevant topics introduced in this title would open many possibilities for class discussion and student writing.


Deborah Mervold is a teacher-librarian in a grade 6 to 12 school and a grade 12 English teacher at Shellbrook Composite High School.

Book Review

The Fish Princess.

Irene N. Watts. Illustrated by Steve Mennie.
Toronto, ON: Tundra Books, 1996. 32 pp., hardcover, $17.95.
ISBN 0-88776-386-9.

Grades 3 and up / Ages 8 and up.
Review by Jennifer Johnson.

**** /4


Before she learned to speak, she sang songs of wind-whipped waves, of gulls crying, of water lapping. Before she learned to walk, she swam, for she was a child of the sea. Shells whispered the secrets of the deep to her, and sea foam fastened necklaces of creamy pearls around her throat. She played in the water and was never afraid. But the villagers were afraid.

The Fish Princess is a beautiful, mystical tale in the tradition of Selkie tales, where a creature, neither completely of the sea or of the land, comes to live for a time with mortals. In this case, a fisherman retrieves a boat which drifts in to shore. Inside the boat, he finds a baby girl. Although the villagers are frightened, the fisherman takes her in, seeing her as a gift sent by the sea to comfort him in his old age. Although they have one another, none of the community will recognize the girl or include her in the rituals of their society. As she grows up, she sings of her longing for a friend, but she resists the lure of the sea and lives and works with her grandfather. At one point, she intercedes when the villagers are over-fishing, releasing a giant salmon and earning the villagers' further distrust and anger. As she nurses her grandfather in his last days, she fishes and receives not only a sufficient portion, but a gold circlet. When her grandfather dies, she fishes once more and draws forth the salmon, which when killed, becomes transformed into a youth with whom the Fish Princess returns to the sea.

With The Fish Princess, Irene N. Watts expands her already considerable writing talents to create the story of the unquestioning love between a fisherman and his "gift from the sea," a young girl who mysteriously arrives in an old wooden boat. Previous publications written by Watts include her plays, Goodbye Marianne; theater explorations for youth, Just a Minute: Ten Short Plays and Activities for your Classroom; and her various publications on children's parties and games, Great Theme Parties for Children. One of the distinguishing features of her work is her ability to create activities which are adaptable to a wide range of ages and abilities. In The Fish Princess, her expansiveness is equally evident. This tale is not for the very young but will be enjoyed by children and young adults who will respond to the beautiful writing and descriptive style. The story, possessing all of the elements of mystery and magic which characterize folk and fairy tales, will touch many as a result.

Young adults, in particular, many of whom are re-introduced to illustrated narratives through language arts courses, will appreciate the elements of exclusion and unfair societal distrust.

The Fish Princess, is illustrated by Steve Mennie, who is best known for his silkscreen exhibitions and postage stamp design. In this, his first book, he provides a powerful interpretation of Watt's tale. Mennie creates a beautiful, somber world. The sea is depicted in calm and storm, revealing a blend of colour and light which interpret the joy of water and waves. The villagers are work-worn and weatherbeaten, swathed in dark fabrics. The illustrations are soft and mysterious, with many of the figures turned away or positioned only partially on the page.

The talents of those two artists combine beautifully in The Fish Princess, adding a lyrical narrative and artistic interpretation to the imaginative literature of the sea.

Highly recommended.

Jennifer Johnson is a children's librarian in Ottawa.

Book Review

Wind Shifter.

Linda Smith.
Saskatoon, SK: Thistledown Press, 1995. 310 pp., paper, $7.95.
ISBN 1-85449-42-1.

Grades 6 and up / Ages 11 and up.
Review by Jo-Anne Mary Benson.

*** /4


The leader spoke to her in stumbling, accented Freyan. "You are a wizard?" . . . His lips tightened. He glanced at the Ugliks holding her, and together they pried her fingers open. She winced as the terrible six-fingered hands wrenched the map away. The leader replaced it in his bag, then took out a rope. Returning to her, he gestured to the ground.


This is a superb effort for Linda Smith's first book-length work. Smith's descriptions are so vivid and well incorporated into the narrative that one can easily visualize the fantasy land of Freya. The main character is the very likeable Kerstin Spelling, daughter of one of the most prominent wizards in the land. Kerstin's relationship with Alaric, an orphan boy who lives with her family, is a dominant element throughout the novel. Since both Kerstin and Alaric are being trained to be a wizard's apprentice and are striving to win the approval of Kerstin's father, their relationship is portrayed as one of love, mixed with jealous competition.

The author sets the stage by having the Freyan history books tell of a terrible invasion centuries earlier by a strange people called the Ugliks. It appears history is about to repeat itself as the Ugliks are believed to be planning an attack, magically changing the weather, and causing a drought in Freya. When Wizard Spelling is away on a voyage, Kerstin and Alaric find themselves summoned by the King's Council. Their task is to combine their talents to protect the Freyan people.

Alaric is chosen to go with the army to protect the people from the Uglik invasion while Kerstin is left at the king's castle. Kerstin feels rejected and angry as she believes her skills are superior to Alaric's. The drama intensifies as Kerstin decides to set out on her own to spy on the Ugliks and help save her people. A series of events follows in which Kerstin takes on the role of adventurer, captive, and eventually hero.

The author's imaginative descriptions of the Ugliks, the innovative spells, and the creation of a zeitgeist all lend a certain authenticity to the novel. Smith continually holds the reader's interest by propelling the story forward through exciting challenges to the credible characters.

Wind Shifter beautifully develops the elements of rivalry, family love, friendship, and independence. The storyline is punctuated with action and suspense, making this a highly enjoyable read and creating anticipation for Linda Smith's next work.


Jo-Anne Mary Benson is a writer/reviewer for North American books, magazines, newspapers and journals.

CD-ROM Review

Klondike Gold Rush.

History Alive Series.
Ottawa, ON: IDON East Corporation, 1996. CD-ROM, $34.95.

Grades 6 - 12 / Ages 11 - 18.
Review by Harriet Zaidman.

**** /4


A Klondike adventurer, Luella Day, commented on the seemingly elusive quality of gold: "it is a curious but a historical fact that either in the frozen North or the pestiferous tropical swamps Nature hides her stores of gold to lure men to seek at the risk of their lives." Whether this statement is universally applicable is impossible to ascertain, but it was certainly true in the Klondike.
Klondike Gold Rush is part of the History Alive Series, published by IDON East Corporation of Ottawa. This series has been planned well. It makes history interesting, informative and appealing to Canadian students. The writing style is appropriate but appeals to a broad range of ages. The information is easy to access, and the presentation of the information is unique and consistent with the subject matter. Archival writing and pictures abound with appropriate explanations, making this one of the better publications on CD-ROM.

Klondike Gold Rush runs on any 386 computer or better, using Windows 3.1, 3.11 or Windows for Workgroups. It requires 4 MB of memory and a VGA display or better.

The material is divided into five main subject areas:

Each main subject area can be explored in seven different ways: Subjects, Overview, Browse, Gallery, Maps, Search, Themes and Timeline. Clicking on one of these icons leads the user into the depths of the history of the Klondike. The user reads both collected historical information as well as archival writings of Klondike adventurers. The publishers have collected a broad array of writings to give a complete picture of the difficult life people experienced in the few years that the Klondike produced gold:
"You had to put up money at Skagway for duties or pay a broker twenty dollars for making out custom papers; then the officer would send a convoy with you at a cost of six dollars a day . . . if you outfitted in the U.S. in Seattle you would have to pay as much as the goods cost you before you got through with the Canadian customs . . . It is a disgrace to see such blackmail covered up with the American eagle and the English crown of King George . . ."

Accompanying quotes, such as the one above, are captioned archival photographs. Accessing the photos or maps is a fairly quick process. The information is presented on a parchment-type or faint, but clear, photographic background. Sound is also available and comes up in a reasonable time.

The Klondike Gold Rush lasted only a few years - a blink in the eye of history. But it is an important part of Canadian history to record. IDON has done an excellent job of collecting and interpreting the material for students of all ages. This CD-ROM would be a positive addition to any school collection.

Highly recommended.

Harriet Zaidman is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg.


"Brother Can You Spare a Dime?":
Getting the Inside Story on the Depression in Manitoba.

An Archival Edukit. Includes VHS videotape, facsimile documents, photographs, 2 audio cassettes and teacher's guide.
John Einarson and the Association for Manitoba Archives.
ISBN: 0-9693431-3-2.

Feature by Martha McLeod and Ian Stewart.

The Association for Manitoba Archives (AMA), John Einarson, and countless volunteers have completed a unique hands-on resource for Manitoba's Senior 3 (grade eleven) Canadian history students. After a nine year effort, their archival education kit, "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?": Getting the Inside Story on the Depression in Manitoba, is now ready for distribution and will be sent free of charge to every secondary school in the province of Manitoba during March and April, 1997.

Archival education kits have been used extensively in Britain for many years and more recently in Australia, but the AMA has taken the leading role in producing a valuable resource for Canadian students. The AMA's "Edukit" introduces students to archives and primary archival materials by using facsimiles of depression era records that reach back into the real-life experiences of Manitoba's urban and rural populations. These records include a variety of photographs, official government documents, private papers, newspaper clippings, a map, and two audio tapes.

John Einarson, who teaches at St. John's Ravenscourt in Winnipeg, has written a comprehensive teacher's guide. The guide estimates that two weeks would be needed to complete the six units in the package. In addition, introductory activities areincluded so that students are prepared to approach the historical documents analytically. Also, an AMA video, Archives: the Inside Story (1988), introduces students to basic archival concepts, describes how the various departments of a large modern archives function, demonstrates how to use archival resources, and touches on the wide range of archives and archival resources found in Manitoba.

Five of the six units in the package relate to specific Depression Era topics:

The units have been created with an ascending degree of difficulty and complexity; the students move from individual concerns into the dynamic tensions inherent in a society in crisis. A sixth unit is designed to stimulate a group investigative project and utilizes the skills and knowledge the students have acquired through using the kit. As well, the guide includes an appendix, "How to Tackle a Document," a document source listing, and a bibliography of primary and secondary sources.

Mr. Einarson deserves a great deal of credit for his well-rounded selection of rural and urban documents. Certainly this must have been a very difficult task considering the hundreds from which he had to choose. There will be debates over some choices and oversights. This is to be expected and desired; after all, history is created through point-of-view, choice and personality, not through the discovery of objective reality.

This "Edukit" is a starting point for further projects. Mr. Einarson and the AMA have provided a working model that can be modified and expanded by students and teachers exploring their own interests in any area of the Great Depression or any topic in Manitoba history. Social studies teachers who tested the format in classrooms say that the kit made the Depression come alive for their students, and, at province wide conferences, the kit has been extremely well received.

Now that students know the wealth of primary materials available on Manitoba history and how to use them, hopefully, they will become active participants in the doing of history and "boldly go to where no one has gone before."

Martha McLeod is a graduate student in the Masters of Archival Studies Program at the University of Manitoba and is company archivist at Great West Life. Ian Stewart has a M.A. in history from the University of Manitoba, is a frequent contributor to CM, and works at Lord Nelson School in Winnipeg.

NOTE: Libraries outside of Manitoba which are interested in this product should fax the AMA office at (204) 942-3492.


CM Bulletin Board

Information on Comet Hale-Bopp for teachers

The Great Canadian Hairy Star Party (produced by ScienceWeb and based at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory in Victoria, B.C.) is now featuring Comet Hale-Bopp. A section devoted to teachers is split into the following categories: K- Grade 1, 2-3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and Grade 9. Material can be adapted for different grade levels (eg. the model solar system in the grade 5 section can also be used for grade 9).

Observations, sketches and other artwork from all grade levels is solicited. Centre Consolidated School (grade 1-7) in Lunenburg, NS, participated during Comet Hyakutake's appearance last year and found it to be an excellent experience for the students. Examples of their submissions can be found on the website in the Comet Hyakutake section.

From the American Library Association

National TV-Turnoff Week

During the last week of April 1997, thousands of families, schools, libraries, and community organizations will join together in a coordinated effort in which millions of individuals will leave their TV sets off for seven days. The third annual National TV-Turnoff Week, sponsored by TV-Free America and endorsed by more than 44 national organizations, including the Association for Library Service to Children (a division of the ALA,) will take place April 24-30, 1997.

To learn how to organize a TV-Turnoff in your school, library or community, contact:
TV-Free America
1611 Connecticut Avenue, NW Suite 3A
Washington, DC 20009
Tel: (202) 887-0436
Fax: (202) 518-5560.

TVFA will help you get started and, for a $10US donation, send you an "Organizer's Kit" that includes a guidebook, posters, bumper stickers, pledge cards and an information packet.

From the NOVAE GROUP Teachers Networking for the Future

Kids Identifying and Describing Sites

The K.I.D.S. (Kids Identifying and Describing Sites) Report is produced by K-12 students as a resource to other K-12 students who use the World Wide Web.

The list of "Selection Criteria" used by these students is included and it makes a great checklist or discussion starter for any anybody who wants to evaluate resources on the web.


With Flying Colours

A Classroom Kit on Canadian Symbols

The "With Flying Colours" education kit has been designed to assist teachers in helping Canadian students come to a greater understanding and appreciation of those symbols and values that define Canada as a country. The kit explores the rich and colourful array of symbols, such as our flag, citizenship, parks and historic sites, excellence in sports and the arts, bilingual and multicultural society and others, that represent Canadians. It also encompasses values, such as tolerance, mutual respect, compassion and acceptance, that are deeply ingrained in the Canadian character.

This self-contained, multi-media kit, including a printed teachers' guide, videos, an audio cassette and a CD-ROM, has components oriented to three age categories: 4 to 7 years, 8 to 11 years, and 12 years and older. It provides the teacher with materials not only to help students understand symbols and values but bring them to life. The kit has been designed to provide teachers with realistic activities for the classroom, supported by audio, audio-visual and print materials that reinforce each other and the key themes identified. Above all, the kit is meant to be user-friendly for the teacher, leading to fun and educational activities for students throughout the school year.

The kit is being made available to each Canadian school at no cost (maximum 2 kits per school.) Further, each school can access two Canadian flags with each kit - a 0.90 m x 1.80 m flag for public display and a 0.45 m x 0.90 m flag to support in-class activities. To order, simply return the form below by mail or provide the required information by toll-free telephone, fax or email (see numbers below).

Name of Teacher:____________________________
Name of School:_____________________________
School Address:_____________________________
Postal Code:________________________________
(All information must be provided in order to ensure processing of request)

Number of kits requested - maximum of 2
Language: E (___) F (___) (indicate #)

Do you wish to receive the flags with the kits?
Yes _____
No ______

"With Flying Colours"
Department of Canadian Heritage
Ottawa, Ontario KIA OM5

1-888-432-6537 (toll-free, 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m., E.S.T., Monday to Friday)

(819) 997-5306


Please allow four to six weeks for delivery.


Bridging the Gap: Information Rich but Knowledge Poor

International Conference
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
July 6 - 11, 1997

Sponsored jointly by the International Association of School Librarianship (IASL) and the Association for Teacher-Librarianship in Canada (ATLC), this conference, through workshops and the presentation of research and professional papers, will explore the opportunities and challenges facing both schools and school libraries. All Conference Sessions will be held at the University of British Columbia.

Highlights include:

For current information, visit the conference web site at

Registration Packages will be mailed to all IASL and ATLC members. Non-members may request a Registration Package by contacting:
Lynne Lighthall, Conference Coordinator
4093 West 14th Avenue
Vancouver, BC Canada V6R 2X3
Voice: 604 822-2704
Fax: 604 822-6006

Electronic registration for the Conference and bookings for accommodation on the UBC campus may be made through the UBC web site at


Best Bets 1996

Selected by the OLA Canadian Materials Committee

The Ontario Library Association (OLA) Canadian Materials Committee consists of public librarians from Ontario. The titles included in this annual list of recommended new Canadian titles are selected based on their distinctiveness, quality and appeal to children.


Uncle Ronald.
Brian Doyle.
Toronto: Douglas & McIntyre, 1996.
In Brian Doyle's heartening and humourous story, twelve year old Mickey remembers what life was like after he and his mother ran away from an abusive father and moved to Low.
Breath of a Ghost.
Anita Horrocks.
Toronto: Stoddart, 1996.
Darien is both comforted and alarmed as he continues to feel the presence of his little brother long after Jeri's death. When a recurring nightmare of a sinister coyote on the edge of the coulee becomes reality on Halloween, it is for Darien time to recognize the "breath of a ghost" as a positive force and accept his loss. An engrossing story of loss and healing.
The Seven Magpies.
Monica Hughes.
Toronto: Harper Collins, 1996.
Mystery and magic surround Maureen who is sent to boarding school for safety during World War II. Rejected by her classmates, Maureen becomes engrossed in discovering what their secret society is about and why she is drawn towards a strange Celtic stone. An enjoyable story of belonging and mystery set in Scotland.
Cougar Cove.
Julie Lawson.
Victoria, B.C.: Orca Book Publishers, 1996.
When Samantha visits the remote west coast of Vancouver Island, she meets a cougar and earns the respect of her two older cousins. An adventurous story of wilderness, family and cougars that will interest all animal lovers.
The Secret Wish of Nannerl Mozart.
Barbara Kathleen Nickel.
Toronto: Second Story Press, 1996.
Twelve year old Nannerl Mozart, overshadowed by her younger brother Wolfgang, dreams of having her own musical genius recognized by writing a symphony and having it publicly performed. A well written blend of fact and fiction that brings the eighteenth century world of this remarkable girl to life.
Awake and Dreaming.
Kit Pearson.
Toronto: Penguin Books Canada, 1996.
Nine year old Theo dreams of belonging to a loving family with two parents, brothers and sisters. In reality, her life with her young, irresponsible mother is miserable and poverty stricken. A ghost story with a difference sure to keep kids interested.
Silver Threads.
Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch. Illustrated by Michael Martchenko.
Toronto: Viking, 1996.
Ivan and Anna leave their life of hardship in Bukovyna for Canada. They find hope, but, with the outbreak of war, Ivan goes to help his new country and finds himself imprisoned and Anna must continue alone. Based on real events, Silver Threads is a well-written story of perseverance with rich, authentic illustrations.
A Place Not Home.
Eva Wiseman.
Toronto: Stoddart, 1996.
When Nelly's family leaves Hungary in 1956 to seek freedom, Nelly is not sure that she wants to go. Nelly's journey from life in Hungary to refugee centres to Canada is effectively and realistically portrayed with poignancy and humour.

Picture Books

The Dust Bowl.
David Booth. Illustrated by Karen Reczuch.
Toronto: Kids Can Press, 1996.
In this poignant tale, Andrew's fears about losing the family farm are reduced after his grandfather tells him about other hardships that they survived. Karen Reczuch's soft pastel colours complement the rich text.
The Rooster's Gift.
Pam Conrad. Illustrated by Eric Beddows.
Toronto: Harper Collins, 1996.
Eric Beddows' glorious illustrations shine forth in this delightful story of a young rooster who believes that he has a gift for making the sun rise. One morning, the sun rises without his help, and he is forced to reexamine his preconceptions.
Sody Salleratus.
Aubrey Davis. Illustrated by Alan and Lea Daniel.
Toronto: Kids Can Press, 1996.
Humorous illustrations add to Aubrey Davis's uproariously funny retelling of an old woman's attempt to get some sody salleratus (baking soda) for her biscuits.
The Fabulous Song.
Don Gillmor. Illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay.
Toronto: Stoddart, 1996.
Frederic Pipkin is destined to be as great as his musical namesake, Frederic Chopin, at least according to his parents who enrol him in one musical lesson after another. In the end, Frederic finds his own place in the musical world. Gay's humorous, chaotic illustrations bring the text to life.
Meet Matt and Roxy.
Karen Huszar. Photographs by Susan Huszar.
Victoria, B.C.: Orca Book Publishers, 1996.
Matt and Roxy are best friends. Hand coloured photographs richly illustrate their times together playing, sharing and relaxing. A simple tale of a dog and his boy for both young and old.
Whatever You Do, Don't Go Near That Canoe!
Julie Lawson. Illustrated by Werner Zimmerman.
Richmond Hill, Ontario: North Winds Press, 1996.
The rollicking lyrical text transports two young children and a stuffed kangaroo to a land of fearsome, jovial pirates. Delightful watercolour illustrations capture the fantastic voyage exquisitely.
The Babe Ruth Ballet School.
Tim Shortt.
Toronto: Firefly Books, 1996.
Issy Archer and Babe Ruth are best friends. But when Issy's interests turn from baseball to ballet, Babe joins his friend in ballet school. An amusing story with outrageous illustrations.
Sarah and the People of Sand River.
W. D. Valgardson. Illustrated by Ian Wallace.
Toronto: Douglas & McIntyre, 1996.
When 12 year old Sarah leaves her Icelandic settlement to attend school in Winnipeg, she is forced to work as a servant to a cruel host family. A raven which transforms into a Cree spirit friend of Sarah's grandparents helps her survive and find her way home. Delicate dream-like illustrations in pencil, watercolour and gouache convey the magic and dignity of this literary fairy tale.
The Fish Princess.
Irene N. Watts. Illustrated by Steve Mennie.
Toronto: Tundra, 1996.
The child was not of their kind, but a fisherman found her, took her home and became her grandfather. A beautiful story of devotion with haunting illustrations.
Ghost Train.
Paul Yee. Illustrated by Harvey Chan.
Toronto: Groundwood Books, 1996.
Paul Yee has created a beautifully poignant story that brings to life one aspect of Chinese Canadian experiences in the 1900's. Choon-yi creates a masterpiece after her father appears before her in her dreams and tells her to paint a picture of the train he and others helped build. Harvey Chan's illustrations complement the text and bring the story to life.


Anastasia's Album.
Hugh Brewster.
Toronto: Penguin Studio, 1996.
A delightful journey into the life of Anastasia, youngest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II. Intimate photographs from Anastasia's own photo albums predominate, while excerpts from friends and family letters highlight the informative text.
North Star to Freedom.
Gena K. Gorrell.
Toronto: Stoddart Publishing, 1996.
Gorrell presents a comprehensive examination of slavery in North America, the Underground Railroad, and Canada's role in both. Black and white photographs and line drawings reflect the mood and provide stories themselves.
Get started: stamp collecting for Canadian kids.
Elizabeth MacLeod. Illustrated by Bill Slavin and Esperanca Melo.
Toronto: Kids Can Press, 1996.
Colourful illustrations and photographs bring the world of stamps and stamp collecting to life. Everything from the history of postal service to removing stamps from envelopes is covered. The information is clearly presented and well illustrated.
Martha Black: Gold Rush Pioneer.
Carol Martin.
Toronto: Douglas & McIntyre, 1996.
From Chicago society to the Klondike to Canadian parliament, Martha Black's life was full of adventure. This fascinating biography with photographs, a glossary and sidebars, is a readable, accessible account for children.
Have you seen Bugs?
Joanne Oppenheim.. Illustrated by Ron Broda.
Richmond Hill, Ontario: North Winds Press, 1996.
A fascinating factual and lyrical look at bugs. Life-like three dimensional paper sculptures of ants, moths and butterflies, buzz and dive in shimmering activity. A guide on the last page identifies insects found in the book.
Discovering the Iceman.
Shelley Tanaka. Illustrated by Laurie McGaw.
Toronto: Madison Press, 1996.
In September 1991, two tourists found a frozen body that was 5300 years old in a glacier. The Iceman's discovery and identification as well as details of life 5000 years ago are described in this informative, interesting, well illustrated book.
The Vision Seeker.
James Whetung. Illustrated by Paul Morin.
Toronto: Stoddart, 1996.
In a period of great darkness, a young Anishinaake brings his people back into contact with themselves by retrieving the ritual of the Sweat Lodge. The text flows with an oral cadence, and the spirit of the tale is captured by the luminous sculptured paintings of Paul Morin.

The Canadian Materials Committee gratefully acknowledges the assistance of National Book Services in compiling this list.

CM acknowledges the OLA for permission to reprint this list.


Amelia Frances Howard Gibbon Award

List of nominees for 1996

Administered by the Canadian Association of Children's Librarians, the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator's Medal is awarded to an outstanding illustrator of a children's book published in Canada. To be eligible for this award, an illustrator must be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada, and the text of the book must be worthy of the illustrations.

Title Author Illustrator Publisher
The Dust Bowl Booth, David Reczuch, Karen Kid's Can Press
Sody Salleratus Davis, Aubrey Daniel, A. & L Kid's Can Press
The Harvest Queen Robertson, JoAnne Reczuch, Karen Red Deer College
Tiger's New Cowboy Boots Morck, Irene Graham, Georgia Red Deer College
The Stone Lion Slavin, Bill Slavin, Bill Red Deer College
A Mountain Alphabet Ruurs, Margriet Kiss, Andrew Tundra
The Fish Princess Watt, Irene Mennie, Steve Tundra
Voices From the Wild Bouchard, David Parker, Ron Raincoast
Loon Rock Trotter, Maxine Christmas, Dozay U. College Cape Breton
Hunchback of Notre Dame Hugo, Victor Slavin, Bill Key Porter
Silver Threads Skrypuch, MF. Martchenko, Michael Penguin
Gruntle Piggle Takes Off Little, Jean Wales, Johnny Penguin
Boy Soup Lesynski, Loris Lesynski, Loris Annick
Token Gift McGibbon, H.W. Cameron, Scott Annick
Mala Wolf, Gita Galouchko, A.G. Annick
Christopher's Folly Mosionier, Beatrice Gallagher, Terry Pemmican
Red Parka Mary Eyvindson, Peter Brynjolson, Rhian Pemmican
River My Friend Bell, William Campbell, Ken Orca
Too Many Suns Lawson, Julie Springett, Martin Stoddart
Necklace of Stars Charles, V. M. Charles, V. M. Stoddart
Vision Seeker Whetung, James Morin, Paul Stoddart
Tiktala Shaw-MacKinnon, M. Gal, Laszlo Stoddart
Sarah and the People of Sand River Valgardson, Wm. Wallace, Ian Groundwood
Ghost Train Yee, Paul Chan, Harvey Groundwood
Rooster's Gift Conrad, Pam Beddows, Eric Groundwood
Mary Margaret's Tree Drawson, Blair Groundwood
Jade and Iron Garay, Luis Groundwood
Jacob's Best Sisters Teddy, Jan Fitzgerald, Joanne Groundwood
Whatever You Do Don't Go Near that Canoe! Lawson, Julie Zimmerman, Werner North Winds
Have You Seen Bugs? Oppenheim, JoAnne Broda, Ron North Winds
Peacock's Pride Kajpust, Melissa Kelly, Joanne Hyperion
The Wise Washerman - A Folktale from Burma Froese, Deborah Kui, Wong Hyperion
Cricket's Cage Czernecki, Stefan Hyperion
CM acknowldeges the Canadian Association of Children's Librarians for permission to reprint this list.

Managing Editor
Peter Tittenberger

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.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364