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Warabe Aska.
Montréal, PQ: Tundra Books, 1986.
14pp., paper, $9.95.
ISBN 0-88776-186-0. CIP.

Subject Heading:
Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.) in art-Juvenile literature.

Kindergarten-grade 2 / Ages 5-7

Reviewed by Ronald Jobe.

Volume 15 Number 1
1987 January

A souvenir of British Columbia Expo summer, written in a trio of languages, English, French, and Japanese, this book offers a loosely woven tour of Vancouver's Stanley Park, entreating its readers to "come full of wonder and ... learn its secrets." It shares a series of surrealistic perspectives of many of the park's most popular attractions, particularly the Totem Poles, the Hollow Tree, Ferguson Point, Siwash Rock, the old whale pool at the Aquarium, and Lost Lagoon. These are briefly explained and located on a map at the end of the book.

Readers, both adults and children, react immediately to the orange and gold skies. They are wrong for Vancouver. It just does not feel right. Periodically, when atmospheric conditions are suitable such skies do occur, but dominant blues greens, and greys would have better reflected the mood of the park. A favourite illustration of children is unanimously that of the sun-drenched pathway complete with branches for swinging, sun-bespeckled trails for running or tumbling, and luxuriant leafy underbrush, hiding a bevy of small animals and two mounted police officers.

Visually dramatic and compelling, each striking composition is a flight of fantasy capturing motion in a moment and subtly revealing hidden objects blended into the background. This juxtaposition of action, place, and movement is splendidly seen in the Beaver Pond scene where four children ". . .dance in spirit on the lily pads," surrounded by green hues of an undergrowth constructed of politely observant swans. While child readers may find it hard to see beyond the free-flying forms of children and fish, art-book collectors will be fascinated by the visual assault of brilliant colours, the golden atmospheric orgies contrasting to the moody luminescent forests and grotesque child images.

The text? Grey Line Tour booklets would be more aesthetic and pleasing to the ear. However, this collection of flat prose, unrelated banal comments, and unanswerable questions is of little consequence. Perhaps it is better in Japanese. Who Hides In the Park is a happy book. It has a joyous lilt to it, and the art, for its own sake, is worthy of adult praise and admiration.

Ronald Jobe, Dept. of Language Education, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC.
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