CM Archive
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George E. Lammers
Illustrated by Betsy Thorsteinson

Winnipeg, Hyperion Press, 1990. 39pp, paper, $5.95, ISBN 0-920534-47-3. (Wilderness Album series).
Distributed by Sterling Publishing c/o Canadian Manda Group. CIP


Mary E. Hamilton
Illustrated by Teddy Cameron Long

Winnipeg, Hyperion Press, 1990. 39pp, paper, $5.95, ISBN 0-920534-51-1. (Wilderness Album series).
Distributed by Sterling Publishing c/o Canadian Manda Group. CIP

Grades 4 and up/Ages 9 and up
Reviewed by Fred Leicester.

Volume 18 Number 6
1990 November

The "Wilderness Album" series includes more than twenty titles, all following the same format. The left-hand page carries scientific information about the illustrations and the story, which involves well-informed adults (e.g., Dr. Gordon, Dr. Fletcher, Uncle Ned) interacting with curious children.

The right-hand pages carry the black-and-white line drawings. The drawings are clear and fairly represent the animals or plants under discussion. These large (22 x 29 cm) open line drawings call out to be coloured in by those children handy with pencil crayons. The scientific text is informa­tive and accurate.

Wild Edibles describes thirty-one edible plants found throughout Canada, including well-known species such as the blueberry, wild raspberry, dande­lion, wild strawberry, and giant puffball, but also includes less familiar edibles — purslane, yellow pond lily and box elder. The information section gives the scientific name, size, mode of reproduction, and colour of each plant, while the story imparts other useful facts such as nutritional content or historical use made of the plant.

In Dinosaurs Christine and Jacob are led through the various aspects of dinosaur life by their Uncle Ned, a paleontologist working in Red Deer River country in Alberta. In this book the story predominates, with informa­tion on the various dinosaurs being restricted to a short paragraph.

I found these two books to be curious combinations. The line draw­ings are accurate yet have the appear­ance of pictures in a colouring book. The story sections are written at a grade 4 or 5 reading level while on the same page the scientific information (in smaller print than the already small print of the story) is often at an adult reading level. An example from the story in Wild Edibles followed by a sample of scientific information from the same book:

Patsy and Tom liked going with their father to buy honey from Mr. Gordon. He lived near their town in a white house surrounded by fields.

Sepals are whorls of leaves which make up the calyx which encloses the corolla. Within the corolla are the female reproductive organs, the pistils and stigma.

The most likely audience for these books would seem to be those fairly precocious children who have a keen interest in natural history and parents of the same who will have, when the story fails to satisfy the child, plenty of technical material with which to sate the hungry mind.

Nevertheless, the Canadian content, large drawings, technical accuracy, and wealth of information contained in these books make them good value for money.

Fred Leicester, Golden, B.C.
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