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Edited by John Robert Colombo
Toronto, Macmillan Canada, 1992.736pp, paper, $14.95
ISBN 1187-4570, ISBN 0-7715-9185-3. C.

Grades 9 and up/Ages 14 and up

Reviewed by Ted Monkhouse.

Volume 21 Number 3
1993 May

Canada's favourite and most prolific "quotations man," Colombo, states in the preface that the 1993 edition has been "completely revised," "completely updated" and "much of it... rewritten." To my mind, this publication is more of an almanac than the scarce few others which proclaim them­selves "Canadian," and serve me best as directories. The high proportion of Canadian "almanac" material makes this a rich, quick source of data. It provides convenient, uncomplicated access to hordes of govern­ment-gathered information.

Under broad chapters such as "The Land," "The People," "The Nation," "The Economy," the reader gets 246 pages of charts and other easily digestible data on Canada. It doesn't end there, either, because in the "international" sections dealing with science and nature, arts and entertainment, sports, etc., Canadian information is promi­nently featured.

There is also the mandatory gazetteer of countries; it provides the expected statistical analysis of the world in general. However, one sees the hand of editor Colombo everywhere in the numerous interesting paragraphs and information boxes through­out the book that expand upon relevant issues, personalities and institutions as well as provide tidbits of useful, interesting and enlightening background.

The index is manageable. It is impossible to itemize everything and so some patient, reasoned deductions must be made to locate specific information. However, when it comes to providing the quick answer to everyday questions regarding Canadian firsts, disasters, award winners, superlatives, costs, travel, sports, etc., etc., etc., this does the job. For Canadian information, this book is a boon. The rest of the world gets fair treatment too without undue emphasis on our neighbour to the south.

For Canadian students, schools and libraries, this is an essential tool. Every home should have it handy. The presence of someone who knows what is useful to most of us is evident in this publication.

Ted Monkhouse is an education consultant with the Wellington County Board of Education in Guelph, Ontario.
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