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Moorhouse, Karin.

Moonbeam (Ont.), Penumbra Press, c1983, 1985. 71pp, paper, ISBN 0-920806-60-0 (cloth) $12.95,0-920806-50-3 (paper) $6.95.

Grades 4-6
Reviewed by Alma Webster

Volume 13 Number 6
1985 November

A very brief history of Canada, starting with the first peoples and ending at the twentieth century, designed to present an overview for young readers. Canadian by adoption, the author moved to Toronto with her husband in the 1940s where they were involved with Andrew Allan's early radio dramas. Later she assisted her husband in film production. A few years ago she wrote and narrated a short history series for children on CBC television. The author of several articles, this is Moorhouse's first book.

It is a difficult task to condense three hundred years of history into less than thirty-five pages of text. The author has made a good choice of topics with which to cover the main events in the development of Canada as a nation. However, fictionalization by way of direct conversation occurs in many of the accounts. Moorhouse also makes use of frequent judgemental statements such as "liked," "very angry," "delighted," and "very happy." Both of these techniques make for poor historical writing. Probably in the interests of simplicity the author has chosen to include few dates: nothing for John Cabot, Champlain, Frontenac, the Hudson's Bay Company, United Empire Loyalists, Selkirk settlers, or Confederation. The Northwest Rebellions are vaguely and incorrectly labelled "Rebellion" and "The Second Me"tis Rebellion." It appears that Saskatchewan and Alberta became provinces immediately after the latter, when, in fact, it was twenty years later.

The book has an attractive format with good paper and clear type. Black-and-white sketches, mostly full-page, appear on every left-hand page. There is no index and no table of contents. Each topic is covered in one page or less. The readability level using the Raygor (Minnesota) graph is at upper grade 6, though the spareness of the content would presume younger readers. Recommended with reservations.

Alma Webster, Edmonton, Alta.
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