CM . . .
. Volume XII Number 14 . . . . March 17, 2006
Author of Haunted Canada: True Ghost Stories, Pat Hancock is again spooking readers with her newest collection of terrifying Canadian stories. In this book, you'll find readable tales involving ghosts, UFOs, Sasquatches, and more.
Hancock's previously published books for children include nonfiction selections, such as The Kids' Book of Canadian Prime Ministers and The Penguin Book of Canadian Biography for Young Readers, and she mixes facts about Canada's geography and political history with the chilling "true" tales, often lessening the horror factor and injecting an educational feel to the narratives. For example, dates are provided, along with background information pertaining to the events, the people, and the places that the stories revolve around. Informational asides precede many of the tales and give additional context to the stories: "Lake Beasts" (like Ogopogo), "Sasquatch Tales," "Ouija, The Talking Board," and "Beware the Wendigo" are examples of these.
Urban legends from eastern Canada appear more frequently than those from western parts of the country. Of the 38 tales, nine are situated in western Canada, and with the exception of one or two, which are tales from the North, the rest take place in Ontario, Quebec, or the Maritime provinces. Beware of the error on page fifty-four, where the photo is tagged "Bastion Square in Vancouver, B.C.," rather than Victoria, which would be correct.
The book is organized into short stories and is not arranged geographically or according to subject. However, the transitions try to provide some fluidity between tales, often picking up on an idea in the previous story and carrying it forward to the next by means of an introduction. Though not included, an index would be useful for easy reference to subject, place, or name, and a table of contents would allow for easier navigation through the book. Also, no biographical information is provided about the author--just a brief, sensory-driven, introduction that sets the tone of the book.
Illustrations are all black and white, and some, such as photographs, newspaper clippings, or pencil sketches, for example, convey factual information. Most illustrations, however, are purely for effect, obviously chosen to capture the essence of the tale. A grotesque, darkly shaded creature appears above the title "Possessed," prefacing a story involving a Wendigo, for example. The book’s design is accessible, with lots of white space and an appropriately creepy font used for the titles. The book’s attractively ominous cover makes it inviting to pick up.
Haunted Canada 2: True Tales of Terror is an ideal recreational read for those who like spooky tales and urban legends. The book also offers a subtle introduction to Canada's history and geography and is perfect for Halloween, camping, or for those interested in tales of horror and mystery.
Andrea Szilagyi is a graduate student studying children's literature at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC.
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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.