________________ CM . . . . Volume VII Number 12 . . . . February 16, 2001

cover The Lobster Kids' Guide to Exploring Vancouver. (The Lobster Kids' City Explorers Series).

Jeni Wright.
Montreal, PQ: Lobster Press (Distributed by Raincoast Books), 2000.
252 p., pbk., $17.95.
ISBN 1-894222-05-9.

Subject Headings:
Family recreation-British Columbia-Vancouver Metropolitan Area-Guidebooks.
Children-Travel-British Columbia-Vancouver Metropolitan Area-Guidebooks.

Grades 4 and up / Ages 9 and up.

Review by Gillian Richardson.

*** /4

Whether you are a visitor unfamiliar with Vancouver's cultural and recreational offerings or a city resident looking for local destinations for outings, The Lobster Kids' Guide to Exploring Vancouver is a valuable resource. This 250 page guide, one of a series on Canadian cities, is packed with information and ideas.

      Organized into 12 chapters, the sites are conveniently grouped under headings such as Local Attractions, Museums, Places to Learn, and Green Spaces, most requiring a maximum of one hours' travel time within Vancouver. Each location is given a brief description highlighting its major features. The remaining information is clearly presented in sidebars (seasons and times, cost, getting there), and icon format (type of activities possible, parking, telephone, washrooms, etc). Sites are also rated--Good, Very Good or Excellent--as to enjoyment, learning opportunities, accessibility and value for cost. Complete address/contact/website details make it easy to check for updates on cost or hours of operation.

      Following the individual listings in each chapter is a list of other related places to visit. Chapter 10 is devoted to travel-type activities, such as the Royal Hudson steam train outing that entails a five hour round-trip to Squamish, including a one hour layover to explore the town. Cultural festivals are covered in Chapter 11, and a chronological directory is included for major annual events. The final chapter offers suggested destinations up to two hours beyond the Vancouver metropolitan area, such as Whistler Resort.

      The guide employs a consistent distance indicator for all sites--so many minutes by car from the Hotel Vancouver, a centrally located reference point. For anyone unfamiliar with the layout of the city and surroundings, a basic map with major routes and landmarks would be a helpful addition in future editions.

      The guide states "the sites...were visited in 1999-2000," and the fact that the author, a 20 year Vancouver resident, was able to kid-test them with her own sons attests to its accuracy. There appears to be something for every taste and budget. They've even included great places for kids' haircuts! And did you know you could be personally introduced to the Vancouver Mounted Police horses at their Stanley Park stables...for free?

      Despite being billed as a "Kids' Guide," this book may spend more time in the hands of parents, grandparents and teachers. However, the reading level is such that kids will be motivated to practice reference book skills--Table of Contents, comprehensive Index and icons are easy to use. An excellent value for the price.

Highly Recommended.

Gillian Richardson, a former teacher-librarian and a published writer of children's fiction and nonfiction, lives in BC.

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