________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV . . . . August 31, 2007

cover

Jack Pine.

Christopher Patton. Illustrated by Cybèle Young.
Toronto, ON: Groundwood/House of Anansi Press, 2007.
32 pp., cloth, $18.95.
ISBN 978-0-88899-780-7.

Subject Heading:
Jack Pine-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.

Review by Gillian Richardson.

***½ /4

Reviewed from f&g’s.

excerpt:

Now Jack himself, he doesn't mind

that people think he's useless. No one

comes to bother him, and no one's

ever thought to cut him down.

 

He's tough but not unkind. Living

in thin and sandy soil, on land

burned clean by fire, in sun and drought

and storms no other tree could stand.

 

alone, he shelters growing pines

 from blasts of wind and scorching sun.

 

Jack Pine, a tree not known for special grace or beauty that might attract one's attention, is personified in engaging free verse images in this first children's book by Christopher Patton. In view of the pine beetle devastation in Western Canada and the loss of much old growth forest, this timely book describes how the jack pine's stunted, twisted growth habit has often saved it from being logged:

   No good

    for lumber, ships, shingles or crates.

   Useless! He is less tree than weed.

     Its success in poor soil led to a belief that it harbours evil spirits, thus sparing it from agricultural land clearing:

    He can't just cut Jack down. The spirit

   would go free - and it would be angry.

     The jack pine's main role may be to offer shelter from wind and sun for seedlings of other species. It spreads its own seeds only by fire or extreme heat:

The twigs and needles start to hiss.

But look! This is the heat the cones

were waiting for. They swell. They crack

and blacken. One by one they open.

     This is a refreshingly original way to win some fans among young readers for an example of Canada's biodiversity. Read more facts about the jack pine, along with white, red and pitch pines, on the last page. The book is illustrated in muted, earthy tones with 3-D collages of etched paper.

Highly Recommended.

Gillian Richardson, a freelance writer and former teacher-librarian, lives in BC.

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

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.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

NEXT REVIEW |TABLE OF CONTENTS FOR THIS ISSUE - August 31, 2007.

AUTHORS | TITLES | MEDIA REVIEWS | PROFILES | BACK ISSUES | SEARCH | CMARCHIVE | HOME