Hopefully -- and I'm serious about this -- in few years, there'll be little Artificial Agents that will roam around the 'net and then come back and tell you about things you'd be interested in. Meanwhile, since we have to anyway -- it's our job -- we might as well save you the trouble.
If you have comments or questions about the CBRP, the Notable Web Sites, or anything else in CM, please get in touch at the address beneath my name.
-- Duncan Thornton, Editor
*Our Executive Assistant, Peter Tittenberger, who has led CM's contribution to this project, insists on pronouncing it "See-Burp." Everyone else thinks that's goofy.
A Cookbook and Cookie Cutter Set.
Debora Pearson. Illustrated by Jane Kurisu.
Toronto, Somerville House Publishing, 1995. 32pp, spiral-bound paper,
Grades Daycare - 6 / Ages 3 - 11.
Review by Kenneth Field.
The other night my six-year-old daughter and I embarked on a culinary
adventure with Alphabake. Our goal was to bake cookies,
using a recipe from the cookbook, in the shape of the letters of the
first initials of all of her classmates and her teacher. She would then
take the cookies to school for show-and-tell and share the fruits of her
labours with her classmates. I can't think of a more critical audience,
but this very discerning group received the cookies with acclaim.
This package, which includes the cookbook, twenty-six cookie cutters
for all the letters of the alphabet, and a cookie sheet, is marvellous.
The cookbook is well designed, with ring binding, which means it stays
open easily while one is cooking, and heavy, coated paper that will
withstand the rigors of children baking cookies. The recipes are well
laid out, with the ingredients in a box labelled "WHAT YOU NEED," and the
instructions under "WHAT YOU DO." The methods are illustrated so there
can be no confusion about what the instructions mean, and every step is
described in detail.
At the beginning of the book there is a "Safety Reminder" that
details the dos and don'ts of safe cooking. This is important since
children will be directly involved in the preparation and cooking. There
is also an illustrated guide of all the equipment necessary to prepare
the items in the book.
The recipes in Alphabake run the gamut from plain
sugar cookies to savory biscuits that can be eaten with spreads or
floated in soup. There are Silly Snake Spice Cookies, Cocoa Cookie
Kisses, Rolled-oat Riddle cookies, Play-b-c dough, and Hey Diddle
Diddle Dough from which one can make inedible words and ornaments. The
book also includes activities that use either the cookies baked or the
cookie cutters. For instance, one can make question-and-answer cookies
using the "Q" and the "A." The author has included three riddles that
children can have fun with.
Overall, this package is wonderful. It provides much scope for both
having fun in the kitchen and enjoying the results.
Kenneth Field is a librarian for Traill College at Trent University in
Hockey Night in Transcona.
Toronto: Lorimer, 1995. 115pp, paper, $8.95.
Grades 4 - 6 / Ages 8 - 11.
Review by Lorraine Douglas
Cody's body was plastered onto the boards, his helmet knocking once,
twice against the Plexiglas. His head seemed to swish around inside the
helmet like jello inside a bowl. Then the defender who'd nailed him
finished the job off by sneaking a quick elbow to the ribs. A whistle
Hockey Night in Transcona is John Danakas's best sports
novel yet. He is
a former editor and writer for the Winnipeg Sun, and
two novels in Lorimer's "Sports Stories" series for the same age
level -- Curve Ball and Lizzie's Soccer
Cody is a twelve-year-old boy living with his single mother and his
younger sister in Winnipeg. He's a great hockey player, but since his
father has moved to B.C. and started a new family, there is not enough
money for him to play league hockey.
But Cody and his friends decide to pool their resources so that he
try out for the Transcona Sharks. The coach is impressed, and Cody is
able to play in the league when he gets a break on the fees. But it's
not all easy -- for one thing, the coach's son, Stu, loses his spot on
the roster to Cody. And at home Cody is troubled too: his father wants
him to come out to B.C. on the train with his little sister for a visit,
but Cody is so angry that he doesn't want to go.
Eventually, Cody manages to come to terms with his feelings for his
father by watching the relationship between Stu and his father.
This is a fast-paced novel that would make a good read-aloud for a
class. Hockey Night in Transcona could promote discussion
choices and being committed to achieving your personal best. The cover
illustration is a bit geeky and could have been more appealing.
Lorraine Douglas is the Youth Services Coordinator for the Winnipeg
Public Library. She played league hockey for years in Winnipeg before
realizing she would never get into the NHL.
Kitchens of the World.
Burnstown, Ontario: The General Store Publishing House, 1995. 192pp,
spiral-bound paper, $17.95.
Grades 10 and Up / Ages 14 - Adult.
Review by A. Edwardsson.
As you read this book and use these recipes, I urge you to think
about people, their societies, the meaning of food and its natural
resources. Think about how to prevent starvation and the gross
nutritional imbalances in the world. Think about the African or Latin
American peasant and the beauty of living, the growing of food, its
preparation and its eating. Then think about the millions of people who
have lost their traditional sources of food so that the land can be used
to grow our luxury products -- cotton, tobacco, and sugar.
I have eaten in numerous restaurants throughout North America and
gazed in dismay at huge quantities of food left on other diners' tables.
Likewise browsing in bookshops, I've seen whole sections devoted to
cookbooks, each filled with tasty recipes to tempt our already overfed
bodies. . . To address this injustice, I resolved that monies generated
from the sale of a cookbook should be used to feed and provide better
living conditions for those less fortunate
This international collection features favourite recipes sent to the
author by eighty-four foreign diplomats based in Canada. "Having
personally travelled and eaten in some 65 countries, I used my experience
in choosing those [recipes] which, hopefully, will best tantalize your
palates," Ken Mackenzie-Smith writes. He has also generously pledged nine dollars from
each book purchased to OXFAM-Canada.
Each recipe is introduced with the name of the ambassador who
contributed it, and some background information on their country. The
double-page spreads have the Geography (location, population, climate,
and agriculture) and Cuisine (common or popular dishes and flavours) on the
left, with the (often) short recipe on the right. There is an index of
recipes at the back, with the countries' names in brackets.
Although Kitchens of the World could be a useful book
for an extended study of world cultures, many recipes may not sound
appealing to teens -- for example, Le Amiwo (oil paté), or rabbit
with prunes. So this collection would probably be better suited to
There are some hard-to-find ingredients with no suggestions for
substitutions. Yuca croquettes call for a pound and a half of yuca, and you'll need
eighteen plantain leaves and two rolls of pita cord to make
Nacatamales. Mango soup calls for a half-cup of soda pop, but what
type? Cola? 7-Up?
Other problems with ingredients are their fat or alcohol contents.
Honduran Rompopo (a drink) uses twelve egg yolks and four cups
guaro, a grain liquor. Scampi needs one and a half cups of white
wine and three and half pounds of costly prawns.
There are no pictures or illustrations between the covers, but the
layout is clear and ingredients are listed in both imperial and metric
measurements. A language glossary of common foods and spices at the back
has French, German, and Spanish translations for a list of English
ingredients. Readers can also see a list of countries OXFAM-Canada is
helping, along with a brief description of its work there.
Also in its favour, this well-intentioned book steps off the
well-trodden ethnic path to give us some different dishes. Mexico isn't
tacos, it's stuffed, grilled fish wrapped in tortillas. From France we
get Daube a la Provencale, rather than French Onion soup. The
short length of the recipes means they're approachable, not intimidating,
and there are a number of dishes for vegetarians.
This book might work at the senior-high level for expanded geography
or food science/home economics studies. The cuisine paragraphs and wacky
ingredients might be of interest to junior high students. For open-minded
chefs, it could be a good purchase.
Recommended with reservations.
A. Edwardsson is in charge of the Children's Department at a branch of
the Winnipeg Public Library. She has a Bachelor of Education degree and a
Child Care Worker III certification, and is a member of the Manitoba
branch of the Canadian Authors' Association.
A Stone in My Shoe:
Teaching Literacy in Times of Change.
Winnipeg: Peguis Publishers, 1994. 145pp, paper, $12.00.
Review by Joanne Peters.
A Stone in My Shoe is a series of linked personal essays
charting personal and professional change in the life of a teacher. A
former teacher of art, drama, and English, Lorri Neilsen is now a writer
and researcher at Mount St. Vincent University. But she is still firmly
grounded in the classroom and this work melds her current academic
interests in gender and research with past experience.
A Stone in My Shoe is a personal reflection on her
work in education, starting as a teacher armed with a daybook, a plan,
goals, and objectives, and an overwhelming sense of guilt when classroom
experience did not go according to plan. But, with time, she comes to
trust personal response, to build upon personal experience, dares to be
flexible, and develops the strength to find her voice in challenging the
many assumptions that underpin and drive public policy in education. In
short, she develops what she calls "the wisdom of practice."
The conversational style of Neilsen's book makes it easy to read,
although the pedagogical and philosophical issues with which she wrestles
are anything but simple. The title is recommended for professional
collections, and will be a useful springboard for personal reflection on
teacher professional development. Although the audience for works of this
type is limited, it will resonate for those who are grappling with the
critical issues challenging classroom teachers of language arts today.
Joanne Peters is Teacher-Librarian at Kelvin High School in
You Make the Difference:
In Helping Your Child Learn.
Ayala Manolson with Barb Ward, and Nancy Doddington. Illustrated by Robin
Baird Lewis. Cartoons by Lee Rapp.
Toronto: The Hanen Centre, 1995. 90pp, paper, $15.00.
Review by Maryleah Otto.
You know your child best and care about him the most. You want to help
him grow up to be the best he can be. It's important to remember that
HOW you connect with your young child affects:
-- how he feels about himself
-- his chances to learn
You Make the Difference evolved from the Hanen Centre's
three-year project to help language-delayed children in economically
disadvantaged areas. The ideas are a simplified version of those
presented earlier in It Takes Two to Talk. This book is
directed towards parents with low literacy skills, or those for whom
English is a second language. So the presentation relies on a minimum of
words and the lavish use of simple coloured illustrations, highlighted
captions, cartoons, and catchphrases.
The first section emphasizes the necessity of being a "tuned in"
parent. That is, one who observes, waits, and listens to their child and
then "allows" them to take the lead in parent-child interactions. Next
are many examples illustrating the importance of "adapting" to share the
moment with the child. Finally, You Make the Difference
shows parents how to "add" new words to any experience, thus enriching
and expanding the child's vocabulary and comprehension. These three key
words -- allow, adapt, add -- form the "3a way" of interacting
with children to maximize the development of their language skills.
The second section outlines the application of this theory. Ways to
use games, music, crafts, and books are examined in detail. A final
chapter deals with alternative discipline or, "how to connect with your
child when he's giving you a hard time."
The author's knowledge of child psychology and her personal
experience with the programs makes her highly qualified to present the
theories in this book. The colourful, playful illustrations (which
reflect a multi-racial population) will easily capture the interest of
the intended audience. I'd like to have seen some specific examples of
games and crafts (there's a recipe for play-clay, but nothing else), and
a bibliography of appropriate pre-school picture books. Physically, the
book is sturdy, with quality paper and a clear layout.
Public libraries will find this book a worthwhile addition to their
collections, as will educators, social-service agencies, public health
units, and new parents.
Maryleah Otto is a former children's librarian with the Etobicoke
(Toronto) and London, Ontario, Public Libraries, the author of four
published books for children, and a member of CONSCRIPT. She has reviewed
books regularly for the Ontario Library Association and the Canadian
Library Association. She resides in St. Thomas, Ontario where she
continues to write for children and adults.
Every Adult's Guide to Talking to Teens.
Markham: Pembroke Publishers, 1995. 128pp, paper, $12.95.
Adult / Professional.
Review by Harriet Zaidman.
As adults, many of us have (thankfully) forgotten the intense
periods of self-doubt, anxiety, and despair that accompany this period of
growth. When we attempt to solve an issue that arises with an adolescent,
whether it be in the classroom or in the home, we do so from our adult
perspective, based on our experiences and our desire to help. What we
sometimes forget is that the adolescent also has his or her own perspective
that needs to be heard and addressed before the issue at hand can be
dealt with effectively.
Kathy Paterson is a junior-high teacher with twenty years of experience
dealing with the ups and downs of adolescence. She addresses teachers,
parents, and youth workers in her book, and offers them frank advice on
the whole range of problems that arise during this period of great change
in a young person's life. Examples from her years of teaching illustrate
nearly every issue she discusses.
Every Adult's Guide to Talking to Teens is based on a
questionnaire Paterson distributed to teenagers as a way of finding out
which issues were important to them. (The questionnaire is included in
the appendix.) The questions allowed the respondents space to comment,
and addressed issues many adults are not comfortable discussing. Topics
ranged from sexuality to drugs, homework, attitudes about adults, and
self-esteem. The resulting book has six chapters, further divided into
subtopics. Analysis develops as the chapter proceeds.
Paterson offers solutions, but is never preachy. She acknowledges
that the adolescent behaviours she discusses are common, and that expert
help must be sought for more extreme cases. She offers a variety of
suggestions for creating a flexible structure to negotiate solutions to
problems, develop an atmosphere of mutual respect, and build a framework
for different types of discipline.
The thrust of her argument is that adults can provide positive role
models for teens by being there for them, by listening to them, and by
acknowledging that the teen perspective is as important as the adult
perspective. Problems have solutions to which the adult and the teen can
The "problem" of dealing with adolescent challenge to authority and
experimentation with emerging adulthood is nothing new. But Paterson
gives a very current perspective on it by dealing honestly with the
issues kids face in the 1990s. Every Adult's Guide to Talking to
Teens provides a good overview for adults interested in improving
their ability to communicate with teenagers.
Harriet Zaidman is a Winnipeg teacher/librarian.
Notable Web Sites
What with the web-sites we visit in the course of a day, and the various
mailing lists, newsgroups, and what-have-yous that arrive in the mailbox,
we probably hear about a hundred new web-sites a week.
And half of the Internet, it sometimes seems, is nothing but
attempts to link up the other half. So though we've wanted to offer some
evaluations of Internet content, it's hard to keep on top of what's
coming in. And since web-sites have a habit of disappearing almost as
fast as they pop-up; it's impossible to be current, or to come close to
Still, they're fun . . .
So this is the first of a regular feature on noteworthy, useful,
or just interesting sites we've turned up and actually checked.
how cool a site is and how much time it's likely
to waste are intrinsically related.
- CBC Radio and Stereo on the Internet
- Once, the true test of being Canadian was whether you could recite
the postal code for the CBC from memory. Now, just remember the URL.
Anyway, this site has almost anything you want to know about CBC radio
and stereo schedules and programming, including RealAudio clips, the
s Book Panel recommendations, and the guidelines for writing and
submitting a radio drama script, something that would make an interesting
project for a Language Arts class.
(By the way, did you know the Transcontinental was still on
- Theodore Tugboat Homepage
- If you don't know, Theodore Tugboat is to harbours what Thomas the
Tank Engine is to train-yards, and the TV show is one of Canada's more
popular exports. This is a well-done page that includes, among other
things, an actual interactive Theodore Tugboat story. Do we really want
young children reading stories on the computer? That's probably a moot
point by now. Anyway, this is a good way to understand what your kids are
watching, or, as the Tugboat people say:
"PARENTS and TEACHERS can review a synopsis of some episodes, find a
description of our characters (we have more than 30 of them) or read
about how The Big Harbour works."
- Open Government
- A project of Industry Canada to provide easy access to information
about Canada's government over the Internet. There are sections for the
House of Commons, the Senate, the major political parties, the provinces,
and links to similar pages from around the world. A great resource for
student research. Also includes the lyrics to the National anthem (with
sound-clip). Handy, if you grew up before they changed the words.
- Cameras of the World
- You've probably heard of the fish-cam (a man, an aquarium, a
video-camera, and an Internet link ). Well, Cameras of the World has a list of other links to video
cameras from around the world that provide images that are updated at
least daily. Not surprisingly, it has a preponderance of U.S. Sites, but
there's plenty more, including one of Niagara falls and one of Tokyo -- a good resource for
social studies or geography classes.
- (Source: NBNSoft Content Awards.)
- The Internet Movie Database
- The Internet Movie Database is one of the best things about the 'net,
with data on fifty thousand movies indexed almost anyway you could
imagine. Plot summaries, cast lists, credits for people as obscure as the
hair-dressers. And you can add information you know about the movie, or
put in your vote as to how many stars it should get. There are movies of
all kinds listed, but no pictures, so it's relatively safe. If your class
is studying films, this is pretty much indispensible.
That's it for the first time; please send us URLs and evaluations of any
web-sites you think deserve the exposure.
Copyright © 1996 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
The Manitoba Library Association
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Volume 2 Index