________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 2 . . . . September 14, 2007


The Eco-Diary of Kiran Singer.

Sue Ann Alderson. Illustrated by Millie Ballance.
Vancouver, BC: Tradewind Books, 2007.
65 pp., cloth, $18.95.
ISBN 978-1-896580-470.

Subject Headings:
Camosun Bog (Vancouver, B.C.)-Juvenile poetry.
Ecology-Juvenile poetry.
Nature-Juvenile poetry.
Children’s poetry, Canadian (English).

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Gillian Richardson.

***½ /4

Reviewed from f&g’s.


Moss and Mud            

Older than grandma,           

older than the city,           

thousands of years old,           

our bog cleans the air.

Sphagnum moss is its heart – light green, dark green, soft red -

olds water like a sponge. Moss makes peat,           

peat makes coal.
Sedges and rushes grow           
from the mud at the edge           
of the pond, wave in a           
whisper of wind.           
Their roots fold and hold 
the wet earth together.

Inspired by the author’s time involvement with the restoration of Camosun Bog in Vancouver, this collection of gentle, free-flowing thoughts take the form of a week-long diary from the viewpoint of her fictional 12-year-old granddaughter, Kiran. The introductory poem asks “What can a kid do?” about the litany of environmental disasters we all face. What better way to express reactions and sensory images than in the inviting blank pages of a diary! Each day’s observations in the bog are recorded in poems about fauna, flora, the role of the Boggers (who work to preserve the habitat), other people who use the bog, the bog at night, reflections on some stories people have told through the years.

     In a week’s worth of short, expressive poems, readers will come to know the beauty of this unique environment, as well as the value it holds for nature and humans. They will meet the birds, insects, mammals and plants that depend on its continued existence for food and shelter. They will enjoy a sensory feast presented in simple but vibrant language:

Leaves float           

‘round a golden bud. These hearts will be            

the rest-stop for a frog, the shade for creatures underneath.            

Days pass. One blossom unfolds.            

In the middle of the pool in the middle           

of the bog, the lovely pond lily            

imitates the sun.

internal image

     Each poem is accompanied by a small watercolour painting in rich tones and details to bring the scene to life. The combination of precise language and lively images will focus a child’s attention on this special type of environment. What can a kid do? This delightful book will help her/him learn to watch, listen, appreciate the living world of which s/he is part and understand its needs.

One plus one plus one and so on

all working together.

That’s how we can save something,

heal something, change something....

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.

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