CM . . .
. Volume IX Number 19 . . . . May 23, 2003
Geoff Butler, a Newfoundlander now living in the Maritimes, has created a glorious celebration of his home province by setting the provincial ode to rich, vibrant paintings. He takes a whimsical rather than literal approach, incorporating humourous touches and cultural emblems into his interpretation of the verses. He employs banners held by puffins to display two lines of a stanza, beneath which a boatload of choristers (both human and animal) are lustily singing the lyrics. On the opposing page, a lushly textured illustration communicates his vision of the lines. For instance, for "Through spindrift swirl and tempest roar/ We love thee, wind swept land," he has pictured long johns flapping in the breeze on Brimstone Head, Fogo Island one of the four corners of the earth, according to the Flat Earth Society along with a Newfoundland dog rescuing someone from a turbulent sea. Other well known images of Newfoundland included are the spectacular fjord in Gros Mourne Park, Christmas mummers, fishing flakes, the L'Anse aux Meadows Viking settlement, and houses floated across the bay during the resettlement program. Throughout, Butler has chosen a lavish palette of deep russets, blues and greens. The result is an arresting pageant of our province's rugged beauty. As the ode is still sung at school assemblies and concerts, this book will be in high demand by primary classroom teachers and parents.
Alison Mews is the Director of the Curriculum Materials Centre at the Faculty of Education, Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John's NF.
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