Volume 21 Number 1
It seems a terrible price for such a few pages, but the illustrations are superb. This can be said for all the titles in this series that I have seen. They include The Louse, The Mosquito, The Porcupine, The Raccoon, and The Ladybird.
The life history of each animal is told in simple form, as suited to the Primary child. The text is in rhyme and is designed to draw your attention to particular parts of the drawings. Large, brightly coloured illustrations invite the reader to search carefully for unusual items. Although all the ideas belong to the drawings, one cannot help but feel surprised when one discovers something else the artist has included for your enjoyment and education.
The illustrators have certainly had fun creating the characters for these books, and yet the animals are still easily recognized. The Mosquito is delightful in the way Doris Barrette has depicted people's reactions to that tormenting insect. I especially enjoy Louise Martel's sense of humour in The Porcupine. However, Evelyne Arcouette is exceptionally clever in depicting the raccoon.
Each time I review The Raccoon I find something else that delights me. The second illustration shows a number of other animals besides the raccoons, and all are wearing masks. For some time I missed one of the characters entirely. I wonder which one will be the last you find?
Were I to fault this series it would be to point out that there is not an accurate drawing or photo of the main subject of the book. However, there are many books that do provide that type of picture and these books are so well done that the missing photo is a small item indeed.
Some words used may require explanation but, along with the superb illustrations, an older student or adult would have no difficulty providing an acceptable meaning. These books are certainly among the best for the Primary science shelf.
Hugh A. Cook is a retired elementary librarian in Maple, Ontario
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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