________________ CM . . . . Volume VII Number 15 . . . . March 30, 2001

cover Crazy Canadian Trivia.

Pat Hancock. Illustrated by Dimitrije Kostic.
Markham, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2000.
124 pp., pbk., $5.99.
ISBN 0-439-98722-9.

Subject Heading:
Canada-Miscellanea-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 4 - 8 / Ages 9 - 13.

Review by Liz Greenaway.

*** /4


Summer Never Came

People in Canada and the northern United States liked to keep a copy of The Old Farmer's Almanac handy. Published annually, this small book contains all sorts of interesting news, household hints and farming advice. It also offers weather predictions for the entire next year. in 1815, one of the typesetters preparing the 1816 almanac for printing decided to have a little fun. He slipped in a fake prediction of snow, hail and rain for July 13, 1816. Imagine everyone's surprise months later when it did exactly that.

And not just on that day. On June 5, bitter Arctic winds had swept through eastern Canada, killing crops in the fields and leaves on the tress, and giving people in Quebec and Montreal a major snowstorm. And if that wasn't enough, the area was hit with a killer frost at the beginning of August, and another major snowfall on August 21.

Not surprisingly, 1816 became known as the "year without a summer."

Pat Hancock's compilation of Crazy Canadian Trivia is just that. Its 124 pages are jam-packed with some of the strangest, wackiest and littlest-known facts around about our country. Included are anecdotes as eclectic as where in Canada you'll find Mosquito Appreciation Day (Rimbey, Alberta) to the day Niagara Falls stopped falling to present day bathtub races in Nanaimo, BC.

      Frequent "Did you know" sections ask readers such things as, did you know that:

  • there are no skunks in Newfoundland?
  • that Canadians spend more time talking on the phone than people in any other country?
  • that the word cyberspace was coined by Canadian writer William Gibson?

      In a country so often inundated with information about its southern neighbour, this book is refreshing. It's nice to see a fun and informative look at all the things that make Canada unique, if just a little bit weird. How, when I lived in Kingston, Ontario for 10 years, did I miss picking up a "cup of poop" at the Manurefest in nearby Desmond?

      Hancock provides a good balance of historical and topical facts, including historical events, today's sports heroes and Canadian firsts, as well as day to day news stories as up-to-the-minute as the Ice Storm of 1998. Her tone is jocular, and the black and white cartoons suitably irreverent for the light-heartedness of the text.


Liz Greenaway is a former bookseller living in Edmonton, AB.

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