CM . . .
. Volume XXIII Number . . . .March 17, 2017
These introductory biographies of Canada’s first and tenth prime ministers achieve three primary goals: they provides students with a succinct outline of the prime ministers’ lives, acquaints them with Canada’s electoral process and offers suggestions on biographical writing.
Each volume in the series follows the same format. To take the William Lyon Mackenzie King title as an example, it begins with a short introductory section called “Who Was William Lyon Mackenzie King?”, followed by “Growing Up”, “Practice Makes Perfect”, “Key Events”, “What is a Prime Minister?”, “Influences”, “Overcoming Obstacles”, “Achievements and Successes”, “Write a Biography”, “Timeline”, “Further Resources”, “Key words/Index”.
By following this simple format, younger students can gain a familiarity with political biography. The book’s “Write a Biography” section provides students with a useful concept web for doing their research and finding what needs to be included in a comprehensive biography. The book contains a timeline, a short glossary of political terms and a short index.
The series contains a number of problematic issues. There is a sub-section called “Get to Know Ontario”, but no other provinces are included in the volumes. The subsection “Prime Ministers 101", the same prime ministers are covered in different volumes. There are historical confusions evident in the John A. Macdonald volume concerning the difference between the Red River Rebellion and the North West Rebellion.
Given these concerns teachers, librarians and teacher-librarians should preview each volume prior to purchasing the set.
Recommended with Reservations.
Before retiring, Ian Stewart taught at Cecil Rhodes School in Winnipeg, MB.
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