CM . . .
. Volume XX Number 6. . . .October 11, 2013
Per-Henrik Gürth has returned for his tenth book with Kid’s Can Press in the “Canada Concept Book” series. ABC of Toronto follows in the same pattern as its precursors, with strong design and colourful images and not so impressive text. The bright, simple images outlined with thick black lines will be familiar to children by now, and they maintain their visual appeal. Even children who have never visited Toronto will find the smiling faces of the quintessentially Canadian animals—polar bears, moose, beavers, etc.—engaging, but the text may prove to be alienating for that same audience. Places like the CN Tower, the Ontario Science Centre, and the Toronto Zoo may hold a universal appeal to children in this country, but not so for all of the landmarks highlighted. Not all of the letters of the alphabet even have the same city influence. For example: “Ee is for Excitement – join the festival fun!” or “Vv is for Visitors – be sure to wave hello!” Both are very broad and don’t speak to Toronto specifically at all. The image for V is an image of a double decker tour bus passing a very distinctive St. Lawrence Market, but the association is weak and is reliant on the interaction of reader and child. Gürth has created a book that will feel very much at home in every Torontonian child’s collection, but the broader appeal is harder to foresee. It is a wonderful introduction to the Toronto tourism industry but a less appealing introduction to the alphabet.
Recommended with Reservations.
Amber Allen is a librarian in Toronto, ON, with a passion for children’s literature and writing.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.