________________ CM . . . . Volume IX Number 5 . . . . November 1, 2002


Canada. (First Reports).

Shirley W. Gray.
Minneapolis, MN: Compass Point Books (Distributed in Canada by Knowbuddy Resources), 2001.
48 pp., cloth, $24.75.
ISBN 0-7565-0028-1.

Subject Heading:
Canada-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-4 / Ages 9-10.

Review by Meredith MacKeen.

* /4


Most Canadians live on the flat plains near the Saint Lawrence River. This important river connects the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean. Workers made the river deep enough for huge ocean ships to sail on. Now ocean-going ships can carry goods to large inland cities such as Montreal. Large ships from around the world can now travel to such cities as Chicago.

First Reports: Canada, as the title suggests, is an introduction to Canada for young American students, and thus the references are in terms of the United States. The topics covered include land and water, topography; people, native and European, sports and a brief history, all in 48 pages. Every page has a coloured picture, many of landscapes, a few of animals, two of the RCMP, a hockey game and two cities, Vancouver and Quebec. Included in the back of the book are a glossary, facts at a glance, bibliography including websites for geographical names and a zoom school and the address of the Canadian embassy in Ottawa. The beautiful pictures and photographs taken by a variety of artists will give the students a sense of the country’s diversity and an overview of Canada.

internal art

     As a Canadian, I find many of the statements incomplete or misleading. Some examples include:

"Canada has 10 provinces and three territories," but none of them are named.

"Canada's neighbor to the south is the United States. Its neighbor to the northwest is also the
United States - Alaska. To the north is the country of Greenland." Russia is up there as well, but it is not mentioned.

"Canada also touches three oceans. The Atlantic is on the east and the Pacific Ocean is on the west." The Arctic Ocean is not mentioned.

"Most Canadians live on flat plains near then St. Lawrence River." If the Great Lakes were added, then the Niagara peninsula and greater Toronto and Hamilton would be included to make the statement accurate.

"White settlers took land from Native Americans. Many times they mistreated or fought the Indians." This statement does not apply to the settlement of the Canadian west.

"Canada gained control of its own government in 1982." Among the important dates in Canadian history, 1867 is left out.

     At a slightly higher reading level, both The Kids Book of Canada and the Bobbie Kalman’s Canada the Culture, the People and the Land books give a more accurate overview of Canada. This book would have limited use in a Canadian setting, and, therefore, it is not recommended for school libraries in Canada.

Not Recommended.

Meredith MacKeen is the teacher-librarian at Glen Stewart Elementary in Stratford, P.E.I.


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