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What Faust Saw.
Written and Illustrated by Matt Ottley.
Rydalmere, NSW, Australia: Hodder, 1995. 32pp, cloth, $19.95.
Distributed in Canada by Raincoast Books.
Preschool - Grade 2 / Ages 2 - 6.
Review by Diane Fitzgerald.
One night Faust woke up, looked out the window and . . . saw something very strange. He tried to wake up Mum . . . and Isabelle . . . and Clayton . . . even Dad. But they didn't seem to want to WAKE UP.
What Faust Saw is Australian writer, illustrator, and composer Matt Ottley's second picture book. Faust is a large hound dog who wakes up at night to see invaders from outer space land and start to creep about town. The invaders are truly, inventively, alien -- a mix-up of plants, dinosaurs, bugs, and pretty much everything else -- and comic rather than frightening or bizarre.
Diane Fitzgerald is an elementary-school teacher in Saskatoon.
Flikka and the Prince Edward Island Mystery.
Winnipeg: Hazlyn Press, 1995. 150pp, paper, $12.95.
Grades 3 - 8 / Ages 8 - 14.
Review by Donna J. Adrian.
While exploring the woods near her Aunt Sanna's home in Prince Edward Island, her Aunt's cat brings eleven-year-old Flikka a ruby and diamond necklace. Flikka and her new friend Jay Dee return the necklace to its owner. She tells the friends that her father had buried the family jewels and that they had never been found.
Does the author truly mean that French people can be identified by looks? Or that French people, (or bikers) regularly seem half-mad? I truly hope not.
"Aunt Sanna! Aunt Sanna!" cried Flikka hurrying around the side of the school, "Did you see that? Did you see how that dark stranger stared at me?"
"Who stared? Where?" Bewildered, Aunt Sanna looked up from cleaning her brushes on an old paint rag.
"It was a man riding a bike. A stranger. He looked half-mad!"
"Now, now Flikka, we get a lot of bikers going through here on their way to the Magdelene Island Ferry. Often they are French people. Did he look French?"
Donna J. Adrian is a Library Coordinator for the Laurenval School Board in Quebec.
A Time to Choose.
Victoria: Orca Book Publishers, 1995. 166pp, paper, $7.95.
Grades 7 and Up / Ages 11 and Up.
Review by Michele F. Kallio.
At that time it hadn't bothered Johannes that his father was a member of the National Socialist Movement, the only political party allowed under German occupation. Modelled after the German Nazi party, the organization was run by Dutch ministers, but was completely under German control. At first many believed that a better economy would solve the country's problems. As a result, most farmers became members of the National Socialist Movement. There were real benefits. The Germans paid good money for dairy and grain products. Uncle Jan, father's oldest brother always said, "Hitler pays more for our products than the Queen ever did." Uncle Jan was a faithful party member.
But as time passed and the war showed no signs of ending, people began to realize that the Germans were not always that reliable. For one thing, they paid with money that was worthless. Now, the benefits were not so clear. Many farmers terminated their membership in the movement.
Johannes wished his father had given up his membership and joined the resistance. At first he hadn't seen his father as a traitor. But in the last two years Johannes had begun to worry. More and more people were working in the resistance. Now he often wondered if his father was an informer.
Attema's first novel for young people -- the story of sixteen-year-old Johannes van der Meer's coming of age in the last years of World War II -- is an excellent read. Attema evokes the Netherlands of her childhood with vivid descriptions of farm life in Friesland province.
Michele F. Kallio is a former teacher/librarian living in Blacks Harbour, New Brunswick.
The Children of China:
An Artist's Journey.
Song Nan Zhang.
Montreal: Tundra Books, 1995. 32pp, cloth, $19.95.
ISBN 0-88776-363-4. CIP.
Grades 7 and Up / Ages 12 and Up.
Review by Donna J. Adrian.
Song Nan Zhang, a former art professor at the Central Institute of Fine Arts in Beijing, survived the repressive grey society and "re-education" of Mao Tse-Tung's cultural revolution by dreaming of the freedom of the nomadic people of China and their colourful costumes. When freed, he travelled the Silk Road of China and visited these peoples, absorbing the colour and glow of the children, sketching and photographing them, and then re-creating their lives in these fifteen beautiful paintings.
Donna J. Adrian is a Library Coordinator for the Laurenval School Board in Quebec.
Criminal acts 1:
the Canadian true crime annual.
Toronto: Macmillan, 1994. 199pp, paper, $14.95.
ISBN 0-7715-9068-7. No CIP.
Grades 10 - 13 / Ages 14 and Up.
Review by Neil V. Payne.
UGLY VIOLENCE IN VANCOUVER
It was all a set-up. Parminder Chana got a phone call in his car at 9:00 p.m. from a friend, saying he had to see the man right away, and they should meet at the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia salvage yard in New Westminster, where the twenty-one-year-old worked as a night security guard.
When Chana got to the yard, he was wrestled to the ground and stabbed, and the following morning his body was found floating in a ditch nearby. His throat slit, his fingers amputated and his body stabbed fifty-three times.
Four days later, Chana's seventeen-year-old girlfriend, Jassy Benji, jumped to her death from the Pattullo Bridge, leaving a suicide note that read: "When Parmar died, I died."
In the trial, the court learned that Jassy's brother, Rajinder, had killed Chana because he frowned on his sister dating the man. Faisel Ali Dean was convicted of second-degree murder after his girlfriend admitted that he had bragged to her about holding Chana down while Rajinder Benji stabbed him. Faisel was expected to be sentenced in February.
Gould has set himself the task "to try to capture a year of Crime and Justice in Canada." This is a large job that could provide a valuable source of information for both interested readers and students studying a wide range of related topics.
Neil V. Payne is a teacher-librarian at Kingston Collegiate in Kingston Ontario.
Writing a Life: L.M. Montgomery.
Mary Rubio and Elizabeth Waterston.
Toronto: ECW Press, 1995. 135 pp. paper, $14.95.
Grades 9 and Up / Ages 14 and Up.
Review by Deborah Mervold.
If her novels contain hidden rebellion, her journals pulse with open resistance, resentment, and depression at the structures of daily life that caught her ambition in cobwebs. She felt trapped in her marriage, confined by motherhood, and bound by the need to present a smiling face of domestic happiness in accord with the romantic novels she was producing. She was fettered by her own popularity and by the need to maintain her success in order to supplement her husband's income as a poorly paid country parson. And she was caught, perhaps unawares, in another trap; her own facility in creating narratives. To keep her secret journal going, she unconsciously adapted her life to her narrative skill. Gradually she began to make life-choices shaped to fit the kind of story she was prepared to tell in that journal.
So Montgomery's gift for storytelling both twisted and reinforced the tangled threads of her life. She never undervalued that gift; it helped her endure considerable trials, which she was then able to convert into amusing anecdotes and engaging plots. For her writing was a refuge, a solace, and a joy. . . . Her words have brought pleasure to many, for through them Montgomery created a circle of friends, a ring of laughter, and a sense of place.
To an avid L.M. Montgomery fan, this biography provides an unusual glance into the popular writer and the private person. The contrast between the painful events recorded in her journal and her optimistic novels and characters give the reader an understanding of both Montgomery as she was, and as she wished to be. To anyone unfamiliar with Anne, Emily, Pat, and Montgomery's many other characters, this biography will encourage reading and study of this well-loved Canadian author.
Deborah Mervold is a Teacher/Librarian in Shellbrook, Saskatchewan.
Lantzville, B.C.: Oolichan Books, 1995. 265pp, paper, $l4.95.
Grades 10 and Up / Ages 14 and Up.
Review by Pat Bolger.
Raymonde stood in the middle of the living room stark naked and bright pink from her hot bath. Stretched out towards William. her pregnant belly flaunted its protruding navel and its stripe of darkened skin like a zipper from her breast bone to her pubic hair. William couldn't fail to notice that that hair had grown back darker, lusher and more dangerous-looking than ever. . . . Did Raymonde have no shame, he thought, shuddering, Her old art students would have jumped up and applauded and cried, "Magnificent!" William, however, could only recoil in horror. He emitted a little shriek of horror similar to the one he gave when his shower went cold, and as Raymonde spun around in a jiggling little dance, crying, "Do you like it?" he fainted. On his way out the window, the Canadian flag floated free and was later found by three small boys on a street several blocks away. They took it home to their father, a staunch Quebec nationalist who cut it up and, bit by bit, burned it in an ashtray.
Frith makes good use of this sort of deadpan delivery throughout Man-S-Laughter, undercutting dramatic events with mundane details like the ardent nationalist burning the late William's flag in an ashtray. This matter-of-fact tone helps the reader to accept for the moment the strong element of unreality that characterises both the events and the characters in the novel.
Pat Bolger is a retired Teacher/Librarian living in Renfrew, Ontario.
Every week, CM presents a brief collection of noteworthy, useful, or just
we've turned up and actually checked.
Spending too much time on the Web can result in the loss of friends, muscle tone, and pleasant body odour.
The final list of the Seven Wonders was compiled during the Middle Ages. The list comprised the seven most impressive monuments of the Ancient World, some of which barely survived to the Middle Ages. Others did not even co-exist. Among the oldest references to the canonical list are the engravings by the Dutch artist Maerten van Heemskerck (1498-1574), and Johann Fischer von Erlach's History of Architecture.The site covers the history and background of Seven Wonders individually and collectively, with plenty of hypertext links for deeper information on sub-topics. It's also well-designed, and includes attractive images of the Wonders (disclaimer: "Note: The color painting at the top of the page is of artistic nature and does not necessarily represent an accurate reconstruction of the Wonder")
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Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice
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