________________ CM . . . . Volume IX Number 1 . . . . September 6, 2002

cover Heartland: A Prairie Sampler.

Jo Bannatyne-Cugnet. Illustrated by Yvette Moore.
Toronto, ON: Tundra Books, 2002.
40 pp., cloth, $22.99.
ISBN 0-88776-567-X.

Subject Heading:
Prairie Provinces-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3 and up / Ages 8 and up.

Review by Lorraine Douglas.

**** /4

Reviewed from prepublication copy.


Saskatoon comes from the Cree word "mis-sask-quah-too-mina," which means "berries." This prairie fruit, also called Juneberries, was a major food source for the Natives and the early explorers. Bison (buffalo) meat was dried, pounded into a powder, and mixed with saskatoons, wild rice, and buffalo fat to make pemmican. Stored in buffalo hide bags, it would keep indefinitely. This was the first "packaged convenience food" on the Prairies easy to carry and to cook just add hot water!

Jo Bannatyne-Cugnet and Yvette Moore have once again collaborated on another beautiful tribute to the prairies in the tradition of their best-selling A Prairie Alphabet (Tundra, 1992) and A Prairie Year (Tundra, 1994). Heartland is divided into thematic sections featuring the area which stretches over three thousand miles from northern Alberta to central Texas. Topics such as the Native peoples and the first settlers, foods, topography, animals, recreation, industry and agriculture are included. The writing style is straightforward and very readable, and the author often draws on personal anecdotes. For example, in the weather section she explains what hail is and that the Canadian record hailstone weighed 2/3 of a pound (290 gm) and fell near her family's farm in Weyburn, Saskatchewan! (The text includes both imperial and metric measures.) Bannatyne-Cugnet also describes many unique aspects of prairie life not covered in other books like the history of the truck on the prairies and how the Cree create their art form of Birch-bark biting.

     Award-winning artist Yvette Moore has created full-colour acrylic paintings in her very intricate and realistic style. The cover illustrations are set in a twelve-patch quilt design perfectly reflecting the book's theme that the prairies are like a sampler of repeated patterns and colours embroidered with details. Children, as well as adults and seniors, will enjoy the fidelity of the paintings as they so accurately and artistically portray the prairie world. Both the paintings and content combine to give us warm and intimate glimpses of life in this celebration of prairie people and places.

Highly Recommended.

Lorraine Douglas is the Youth Services Coordinator for the Winnipeg Public Library in Winnipeg, MB.

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