________________ CM . . . . Volume XII Number 21 . . . . June 23, 2006


Crazy About Canada! Amazing Things Kids Want to Know. (Canadian Geographic Kids).

Vivien Bowers. Illustrated by Dianne Eastman.
Toronto, ON: Maple Tree Press, 2006.
96 pp., pbk. & cl., $19.95 (pbk.), $29.95 (cl.).
ISBN 1-897066-48-1 (pbk.), ISBN 1-897066-47-3.

Subject Headings:
Canada-Juvenile literature.
Canada-Miscellanea-Juvenile literature.
National characteristics, Canadian-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

**** /4


Moose have big appetites. You would, too, if you weighed more than four refrigerators. In summer, they bulk up on a daily 25-30 kilograms (55-65 lbs.) of shrubs and other plants. In winter, moose eat 15-20 kilograms (35-45 lbs.) of twigs each day. Twigs take some digesting, which is why moose have four stomachs. Basically, they can regurgitate what they ate the first time to chew it some more. Charming.

Crazy About Canada! is the result of the author's invitation to Canadian kids to ask questions about their country. Thousands of kids responded with questions about a variety of topics, ranging from the expected, such as “Why is there a maple leaf on the Canadian flag?” to the quirky, such as “Why do some Canadians say eh?” Two characters, Vivien and her 12-year-old Internet-savvy friend, Morton, lead readers through the questions and answers. Occasionally, Morton provides additional information by means of “Morton's Irresistible Detour” boxes while particularly tricky questions are categorized as “Head-Scratchers.”

     Part of the “Canadian Geographic Kids” series, the book is organized into three main chapters. The first chapter features Canada's best known animals- polar bears, beavers, moose- as well as those that are on the endangered and threatened lists. There are questions about animal behaviour, record holders (largest, smallest, fastest), and dinosaurs specific to Canada. Geography is the main topic in the second section, highlighting landforms, bodies of water, weather, icebergs and trees, along with information about provincial boundaries, transportation and distances across Canada. The third section covers the Canadian lifestyle- languages, history and habits. Here, readers will also learn about unusual place names, the flag, the Hudson's Bay Company, Aboriginal peoples and foods such as maple syrup, Saskatoon berries and chokecherries.

     The book's question-and-answer format naturally breaks the text into manageable chunks for readers. Bowers responds to the questions in kid-friendly language, sharing her readers' curiosity and injecting the text with her energy, enthusiasm and sense of humour. Abundant photographs, drawings, graphs and sidebars (but only one map) contribute to the book's attractive collage-style layout. Vivien and Morton make frequent appearances throughout the book, adding further appeal. A table of contents and an index are provided.

     Bowers, author of several titles about this country, including titles in the highly successful Wow Canada! series, has another hit with this one!

Highly Recommended.

Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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