CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 16 . . . . March 30, 2007
Weighing in at 360 pounds, Cyr learns from the doctor that, if he doesn't take care of himself, he will not live much longer. The story depicts him reminiscing with his daughter about his life as a weightlifting contestant at an annual fair, a policeman, a touring performer and a circus owner.
Although this picture book is catalogued as nonfiction, it goes beyond that. Debon has duplicated the comic book format of Four Pictures of Emily Carr to bring the career of the Quebec strongman to life. Pictures, ranging in size from nine to a page to full page, blend fictionalized dialogue in speech bubbles with information in short captions below the pictures. There is not, however, enough information about what records Cyr held, and in some cases still holds, to make this an in-depth biography. Because of this, it is not a book from which to do an extensive research report. However, coupled with the one page Afterword, enough background information is given to entice young readers to learn more about this little known Canadian. Given that there are so few books about famous Canadians, this will be a welcome addition to library shelves.
Cyr's childhood, early training, and later circus life are simply depicted in muted colours giving the book an old-fashioned look which is in keeping with the story. The endpapers are decorated with "sports cards" of other early strongmen and circus performers. The book also contains several reproductions of actual photographs of Cyr. In addition, a brief Author's Note, Picture Credits, and several books about Cyr are cited.
Marilynne V. Black is a former B.C. elementary teacher-librarian who completed her Master of Arts in Children's Literature (University of British Columbia) in the spring of 2005.
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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.