CM . . .
. Volume XXI Number 29 . . . . April 3, 2015
Canadian Monster Club: The Summer Picnic is the first picture book in what is intended to be a series of books focused around Canada’s mythological creatures, from the lesser known Adlet (from NFL and Labrador) to the more commonly known Ogopogo (from BC).
As is suggested in the first few pages, because the job of being a monster is a lonely and boring one, the monsters of Canada meet in an undisclosed location every July 1st to attend the Canadian monsters’ picnic. At the picnic, the monsters entertain themselves with games, races, food fights, political rants and, of course, by singing the monster anthem song. The last event of the monster picnic is the most important one:
Once a human is sufficiently frightened and sure to spread the news of what he has seen, the monsters say their goodbyes and trudge away singing one last verse of the monster anthem:
Townsin is known for his fun, Canadian adaptations of famous songs and poems, including Canadian Jingle Bells, The Night Before a Canadian Christmas and A Moose in a Maple Tree: The Original All Canadian 12 Days of Christmas. Townsin succeeds in his previous books by adding Canadiana content to songs and poems that already have a well-known and formalized structure. This is where The Monster Club of Canada falls short. Although the inclusion of a variety of mythological creatures from Canada’s wealth of traditional stories is appreciated and interesting, Townsin’s storytelling techniques lack in fluidity and form, leaving much to be desired from what could be a unique tale.
Some of the most enjoyable elements of the book come from the engaging illustrations provided by artist Trish Glab. Each monster is given unique and identifiable visual characteristics, and each page contains a small green frog hidden amidst the monsters, something which children will enjoy searching for and finding. The monster anthem is the written element of the story which stands out most, and children may enjoy shouting out the “chorus” while pretending to stomp around the room like monsters during a school or library storytime program.
Tabitha Nordby is a Readers’ Advisory and Reference instructor in the Library and Information Technology Program at Red River College in Winnipeg, MB.
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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.
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.