CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Ian Smith.

Vancouver, Douglas & Mclntyre, c1973, 1982.
174pp, cloth, $35.00.
ISBN 0-88894-033-5.

Grades 9 and up.
Reviewed by Phyllis James.

Volume 11 Number 1.
1983 January.

After examining the 120 superb photographs, of which ninety are coloured, the possessor of this valuable book will now want to discover why the author entitled it The Unknown Island. Ian Smith, with his education in science and his intimate knowledge of the West Coast has packed information in succinct detail into the 174 pages. Not mere statements of fact, but reasons are given for such facts as the amazing forest growth, the variety in colour of streams, and the number of animals often hidden in the dense bush but accurately sketched in margins for the reader. Little known facts are given such as the activities of the navigator shrew, the growing population of the once nearly extinct trumpeter swans, and the habits of the Alpine marmot found nowhere else in the world.

Actually the book is a geography text written in lively conversational style where the author, on every page, displays his love of the land. A plea for conservation enters often in his account of flora and fauna of the island. Not only do readers become familiar with the three main areas of Vancouver Island and adjacent gulf islands, but they are also taken to mountain tops, to explorations of the four seasons, into caves of which there are many and given a close inspection of the sea-shore of this uniquely beautiful island.

The Unknown Island is a book, a privilege to own and to refer to often. It would be indispensable in any home or library. The photographs are by Robert Keziere, drawings by Carl Chaplin, map from department of energy, mines and resources, with detail work by Doris Stastny.

Phyllis James, Qualicum Beach, BC.
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