________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 17. . . .January 8, 2016


Explosion Newsie.

Jacqueline Halsey. Illustrated by Loretta Migani.
Halifax, NS: Formac, 2015.
32 pp., hardcover, $16.95.
ISBN 978-1-4595-0401-1.

Subject Heading:
Halifax Explosion, Halifax, N.S., 1917-Juvenile fiction.

Kindergarten-grade 3 / Ages 5-8.

Review by Roxy Garstad.

**** /4



Macky saw Fred, a reporter from the Herald. “Is the war here?” he shouted over the sirens, whistles and screams.

“War’s been here all along. This wasn’t an attack. Seems the Mont Blanc caught fire…”

“…and exploded like a bomb,” gasped Macky.


An unfortunate consequence of living in this digital age is that our children may not know the pleasure of cracking open a fresh, cold newspaper each morning. This picture book brings the reader back to a time when this occurrence was commonplace, when the daily paper was the only source of news. In Explosion Newsie, readers meet Macky, a young newsboy who has both a route and a corner in downtown Halifax from which he sells the daily newspaper. Dealing with all the perils of the job, from cold December weather to cranky customers, the author successfully depicts how hard it was to be a newsboy. The story is told against the backdrop of wartime Halifax (the First World War, that is). Macky struggles with his job – he loses his brother’s successful selling spot, has trouble with his bicycle, and consistently delivers late papers. But the incorporation of a real-life event, the explosion of the ship SS Mont-Blanc, allows Macky to redeem himself.

     Halsey is quite successful at turning a historical moment into a captivating story, one that will appeal the most to young school-aged children. The illustrations in Explosion Newsie are realistic and detailed. Migani excels at depicting facial expressions and action scenes; the reader can almost feel how cold it is outside! The illustrations complement the text well, and both work together to provide the reader with a realistic and compelling story.

Highly Recommended.

Roxy Garstad is the Collection Assessment Librarian at MacEwan University in Edmonton., AB.

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.

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