CM . . .
. Volume XII Number 11 . . . . February 3, 2006
Celebrating Canada’s diverse landscapes, this seven volume series covers a variety of topics. Each book consists of 23 chapters, a table of contents, a glossary, an index and a list of books and web sites for further research. There are several chapters and maps which are identical in each book, and others that are very similar, merely paraphrased. All of the titles begin with an overview of the regions of Canada in chart format. Other identical (or almost identical) chapters include the map of the various regions, the forming of Earth’s continents from Pangaea, and the climate maps which show the average temperature, average snowfall and the growing season. Despite this duplication, the series is well worthy of purchase. For consistency, the titles follow the same format and layout. Topics include the formation of the landscape, the region’s first inhabitants, explorers and settlement, and aboriginal legends. Each area’s landforms, climate, natural resources, soil conditions, plant and animal life and environmental challenges are discussed as well. One natural disaster, specific to the area, is highlighted. Near the back of each book are examples of two geography-related careers and two activities for kids to try at home. Quick fact boxes, along with fabulous photos, charts, diagrams, maps and satellite images, both enhance the text and provide additional information. Text is fairly easy to comprehend and sustains the reader’s interest throughout.
Canada’s cordillera, meaning “chain of mountains” in Spanish, features picturesque landscapes and includes several mountain ranges. The Cordillera focuses on the three sub-groups: the taiga, largely unpopulated and unspoiled; the boreal, which is mountainous and forested; and the montane, which encompasses the foothills of the Rockies. The book also tells the story of the Frank Slide, which killed 76 people in just 100 seconds, and the Klondike Gold Rush. Geologists and volcanologists and the tools of their trades are the featured careers, while the activities focus on cartography and navigation.
The Great Lakes were formed during the Ice Age. This region is comprised of beaches, dunes, beach ridges, wetlands and islands as well as some unique landforms such as eskers, moraines, kettle lakes and drumlins. And, of course, it boasts the world’s greatest waterfall by volume, Niagara Falls. In The Great Lakes, readers will learn about one of the worst area disasters, the great storm of 1913.The Interior Plains focuses on central Canada’s region of gently rolling fields that is known for its fertile farmland. This title includes information about the impact of the fur trade on development, drought and soil conservation, the various types of grasslands, such as tallgrass prairie, and the interesting landforms in the Cypress Hills and the Badlands, such as hoodoos.
Connecting the country’s most important system of waterways, the St. Lawrence Lowlands region plays a major role in the lumber, hydro power and transportation industries. The St. Lawrence Lowlands features topics such as maple forests, the manufacture of maple syrup, and the threat to beluga whales from pollution and human activity. Paleontologists and exploration geologists are the careers highlighted.The North examines the Inuit and how they have adapted to their harsh climate and surroundings. Other topics include the importance of the Arctic Ocean and the Beaufort Sea, pingos, glacial cirques and tors (unusual landforms not found in more temperate climates), renewable and non-renewable resources, permafrost, the unique variety of Arctic plants and the impact of global warming on the north’s environment, food chains and humans. It is interesting to note that many of the problems relating to humans and global warming were previously unheard of, some examples being sunburns and allergies.
Bringing fog in autumn and freezing rain in winter, the ocean greatly affects the climate of the Canada’s east coast. In The Appalachian readers will find out about logging, mining, fishing and the relatively new aquaculture (fish farming) as well as a feature on Hurricane Juan which caused much damage in 2003.
Spanning almost half of Canada, the largest geographic region is the Canadian Shield, comprised of boreal forests, rivers and lakes, muskegs and bogs. The Athabasca sand dunes are an anomaly as far as deserts are concerned because they border 7,850 square kilometers of water. Forest fires are the prime natural disaster in this area. In The Canadian Shield, readers can enjoy legends told by the Dene and Anishnabe people.
An excellent series, full of valuable information and a wealth of vibrant photographs.
Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.
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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.