________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 35. . . May 19, 2017


Carson Crosses Canada.

Linda Bailey. Illustrated by Kass Reich.
Toronto, ON: Tundra Books, 2017.
32 pp., hardcover & epub, $21.99 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-101-91883-8 (hc.), ISBN 978-1-101-91884-5 (epub).

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 3-7.

Review by Ellen Heaney.

**** /4


Whether writing for older children (the “Stevie Diamond” mysteries, the “Good Times Travel Agency” series) or for the picture book crowd (Stanley’s Party, When Santa Was a Baby), Linda Bailey has long shown that she knows how to captivate children with her literary creations.

     Carson Crosses Canada describes the journey of Annie, a spry white-haired lady, and her dog, Carson, from Tofino, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, to Newfoundland.

Pack your suitcase,’ she told Carson. ‘My sister Elsie’s sick, and she needs some cheering up!’

Carson didn’t have a suitcase, but he got very excited when Squeaky Chicken went into the car. Annie packed camping gear and dog food. She filled a cooler with baloney sandwiches. Then she and Carson piled into the car and drove east.

     They travel over the Rockies, through Alberta’s dinosaur country, to a picnic spot on the prairies, where Carson enjoys catching a grasshopper for dessert. The dog begins to think they will never reach their destination, especially when they encounter the endless Canadian Shield.

…there were days of rocks and trees. Carson thought the trees would never end! He barked and barked out the window. Where was his surprise? Annie gave him a pat. “It’s still a long way to Elsie’s.” That night they listened to the loons. Ooo-woooooo.

Ooo-hoo-hoo. “Oh, my,” said Annie. “Canada! Such a grand land to cross!"

     But at last they are there, and Carson meets not only Elsie, whose “steps were slow but [whose] smile was as wide as the sea”, but his own twin brother Digby – his surprise. There is much humour in both the text and the pictures. Bailey really knows how to tickle a young funny bone: imagine finding out that in Quebec Carson is not a dog but a chien, and that tourtiere is French for a really delicious meat pie? But Bailey and illustrator Kass Reich show a reverence for their subject, too, from the depiction of the giant Vancouver Island cedars to the awe-inspiring waterfalls at Niagara to the perpetually smiling Carson sharing Squeaky Chicken on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.

     Reich has done full justice to many iconic Canadian places and traditions, with vivid pictures that paint just the right amount of detail. Endpapers show the route across the country and Annie and Carson’s discoveries along the way. What a wonderful way to introduce Canada to children.

Highly Recommended.

Ellen Heaney is a retired children’s librarian living in Coquitlam, BC.

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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