________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 19 . . . . May 11, 2007


Wow, Canada! Exploring This Land From Coast to Coast to Coast. 2nd. ed.

Vivien Bowers. Illustrated by Dan Hobbs and Diane Eastman.
Toronto, ON: Maple Tree Press, 2007.
160 pp., cloth, $29.95.
ISBN 978-1-897066-94-2.

Subject Headings:
Canada-Juvenile literature.
Canada-Geography-Juvenile literature.
Canada-Description and travel-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

**** /4


How to Make Arctic Tundra

1. Use a good-sized ice sheet to scrape the land down to bedrock. Scrape off the soil. Spare no earthworms.

2. Water sparingly (you are creating a polar desert, so hold the precipitation).

3. Keep your tundra in the deep freeze for most of the year. Allow to partially thaw every summer (enough to turn the ice into puddles, but not enough to let trees grow). Decorate with muskoxen and caribou. Sprinkle on mosquitoes.


Witty, fun and educational, this account of a family’s road trip across Canada is sure to be a hit! Written from the perspective of 12-year-old Guy, Wow, Canada! reads like a chatty story, complete with candid remarks about Guy’s pesky younger sister, Rachel, and his parents’ attempts to educate their kids about their country. One chapter is devoted to each province and territory, going from west to east. Part history, part trivia and part journal, the book covers such topics as the provincial symbols (coat-of-arms, flower and flag), industry, major cities, weather, special places of interest, food, festivals and people. An attractive scrapbook-style layout includes maps, slides, photos, open books, ticket stubs, postcards to friends, recipe card notes, stamps, license plates and notes written on serviettes. Throughout the book, there is Guy’s cartoon strip about Bucky the beaver, Rachel’s stuffed toy; a section entitled “Exceedingly Weird,” highlighting unusual place names and events (Brandon’s International Pickle Fest, for instance); a list of things to do and places to visit next time; and the humourously named segment, “Food I Was Introduced to for My Own Good,” some examples being arctic char, dim sum and sourdough flapjacks. Interspersed with campfire stories and a description of all the trials and tribulations of traveling with a family- including a bout of poison ivy- the text is engaging and interesting and will definitely appeal to readers. A section called “It’s the Facts!” at the back of the book briefly highlights each province and territory, providing facts about the origin of the province’s/territory’s name, its size, population, capital city and other major cities, industries and the official web page, as well as a textual “snapshot” of the features for which each area is best known. Included are a table of contents and an index.

     A thoroughly enjoyable read!

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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