________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 17. . . .January 9, 2015


Work: An Occupational ABC.

Kellen Hatanaka.
Toronto, ON: Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press, 2014.
38 pp., hardcover & ePub, $16.95 (hc.), $14.95 (ePub).
ISBN 978-1-55498-409-1 (hc.), ISBN 978-1-55498-410-7 (ePub).

Subject Headings:
English language-Alphabet-Juvenile literature.
Occupations-Juvenile literature.
Alphabet books.

Preschool-grade 1 / Ages 3-6.

Review by Karyn Miehl.

*** /4


Work is described as “an alphabetical tour through the coolest jobs you can imagine — and some you might never have heard of.” While some of the occupations listed are interesting (naval architect, oceanographer), the xenologist was a new one for me (apparently a xenologist is one who studies alien life). Other occupations listed may have appeal to kids (grocer, ice cream vendor, quarterback), but I question the inclusion of cyclist, skateboarder, and vibraphonist as occupations, along with others that I, personally, would not consider occupations.

internal art     The illustrations, created digitally using hand-drawn patterns and textures, are interesting in that each letter of the alphabet is included as part of the scene depicted (such as the mountaineer scaling the M, or the U holding up the scoreboard in the umpire illustration). A unique take on the figures shown in each image is that they are fairly faceless. There is a profile shape of nose, but no other facial features. My four- and six-year-olds did not notice this until I pointed it out. Many of the human figures are featured with very bulky, rounded backs, though, so my four-year-old kept thinking they were turtles.

      While reading this book with my own kids, the images and types of occupations featured generated some discussion, especially about jobs they were unfamiliar with (butcher, for example), and the pictures allowed them to make inferences about what some of the jobs are or entail.


Karyn Miehl, a mother of two and a secondary school English teacher, lives in Kingsville, ON.

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.
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ISSN 1201-9364
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