________________ CM . . . . Volume VI Number 9 . . . . January 7, 2000

cover Create Your Own Millennium Time Capsule.

Tina Forrester and Sheryl Shapiro. Illustrated by Stephen MacEachern.
Toronto, ON: Annick Press, 1999.
24 pp., pbk., $7.95.
ISBN 1-55037-612-8.

Subject Heading:
Time capsules-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.
Review by Karen Clay.

*** /4

image This book offers the reader an organized, nicely laid out and alluring scrapbook for creating a time capsule. It begins by providing information and tips on how to preserve items during long term storage. Concerns that may otherwise be overlooked, such as whether or not certain digital formats will even be readable in 25 years, are outlined. This overview of the practical aspects of creating a time capsule serves as a useful and interesting introduction.

Next, the book highlights ten different topics, or areas, which kids might like to explore in more detail. The topics pages contain a few short pieces outlining related trivia, suggestions to help focus a millennium collection, and blank space for making lists and attaching items. The numerous, short suggestions encourage creativity by allowing the reader to focus on and develop those of most interest.

The colloquial language and style make the book an easy non-threatening read, although occasionally the text is too self-consciously cool. The topic areas tend to be very computer technology and media oriented, with the internet or other mass media coming up in five of the ten topics. Fortunately, the issues surrounding the internet and other modern media are not trivialized. Warnings are given about the legal aspects of downloading music off the internet, about how media advertising is designed to draw you in, and about not giving away personal information on Internet chat lines.

I suspect that the emphasis on media and communications technology is an attempt to spark interest in today's kids who are so frequently exposed to television and video games. Unfortunately, the focus on technology also means that other interesting areas, like geography, politics, or art, do not get a mention. Additionally, in its attempt to seem cutting edge and hip, the book spends time on some items that would only be relevant to a small number of potential readers and which could, in fact, make some kids feel left out. For instance, in the section on computers (largely dedicated to video games), the book suggests listing or describing your own home/school computer equipment. There are large numbers of children who have neither and who are not going to feel particularly "cool" about it. A better idea, and one that requires kids to use their imagination more, is the suggestion that kids list their ideas for their own video games.

In summary, the book takes an unusual idea and executes it very well. However, I am disappointed that such a large proportion of the topics are media related, at the potential expense of a wider variety of more thought-provoking topics. Fortunately, the balanced view of the media which is presented should ultimately help kids understand the dangers and issues surrounding much of our modern mass media.


In addition to being a mother, Karen Clay is a librarian at the William R. Neumann Library, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Manitoba.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364