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Schultz, Mike.

Markham (Ont.), Fitzhenry & Whiteside, c1985. 64pp, paper, $4.95, ISBN 0-88902-193-7. CIP

Grades 7 and up
Reviewed by Joan M. Payzant

Volume 14 Number 1
1986 January

Perhaps a dyed-in-the-wool Maritimer was not the best choice as a reviewer of this book. Although it is intended as a Canadian text book, it would be best suited for Ontario schools, for although there are references to stores in the east, west, and north of Canada, both text and illustrations are weighted in favour of Ontario. In general, the book chronicles the development of the store from the early days of barter to the futuristic possibility of video shopping. It is well researched in many areas and liberally sprinkled with quotations ranging from early Canadian poetry ("The Rising Village" by Oliver Goldsmith, 1825) to diaries of storekeepers, to a recent article in Quest by journalist Ralph Surette. Activities such as interviews, surveys, and questions for discussion make The Store a useful book for group involvement or individual projects. Much of the information is of general interest, a look at the operations of general stores, mail order businesses, department stores, chain stores, and modern malls. Success stories of men like Timothy Eaton, Charles Woodward, and Galen Weston will inspire young entrepreneurs. On the whole though, the focus is on Ontario. There are obvious omissions that lead me, as a Maritimer, to suspect that Quebec, the western provinces, and the northern territories will feel similarly neglected. For instance, the enormous trans-Atlantic, New England, West Indies, and coastal trade of the Atlantic area before Confederation is given little space. The importance of sailing ships to coastal communities is ignored, omitting a vital part of commercial history for pupils of the Atlantic region.

The paper cover is attractive and I cannot complain about lack of Atlantic input there, for it is from the 1985 Heritage Day poster showing Saint John City Market. The book is stapled, and is printed in both black and orange on white-and-peach coloured paper. I found the variety attractive, but the orange ink on peach paper was difficult to read, especially under artificial light. The quantity of illustrations is pleasing, but the quality is not. Students asked to examine pictures for detail will need a magnifying glass and imagination. For instance, on page 32 the question is asked, "What goods do you see for sale in this picture?" On page 41 one is directed: "Note the lettering on the clock face." In both cases, these are difficult tasks because of the poor accompanying photographs. Recommended for Ontario schools for serious study, but for other Canadian schools as supplementary reading only.

Joan M. Payzant, Dartmouth, N.S.
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