CM . . .
. Volume XXIII Number 7. . . .October 21, 2016
With Canada about to celebrate its 150th anniversary as a nation, a Canadian-themed ABC board book is most appropriate. From “A is for Arctic” to “Z is for Zamboni Machine”, Covello, creator of Toronto ABC, covers all things Canadian. Four of the letters, the opening letter “A”, “D is for Dogsled”, “O is for Ottawa”, and “T is for Totem” [which requires the book to be rotated in order to see the totem’s height], are double-page spreads while all of the remaining letters are treated on a single page. While most letters have a direct letter/name/image correspondence (e.g., “G is for Goose” or “W is for Whale”), a few, such as “J is for July 1" or “Y is for Yukon”, apply the letter to a broader concept. Consequently, if child “readers” have not experienced the concept, they may be a bit confused initially as to what they should be visually focussing on.
In illustrating, Canada ABC, Covello uses a bright, bold cartoon-like style that is most appropriate for the intended audience, and his illustrations are gender and racially inclusive. Covello also adds many details to his illustrations, and toddlers, for instance, can return to “D” and discover the seven different species of birds as well as the squirrel and the rabbit that are in the background. Covello cleverly provides a visual explanation of “E is for Evergreen” by providing four panels, with each representing a season. Children can see that the deciduous trees’ leaves change over the seasons while the evergreen tree remains “ever green”. “C is for Canada” is illustrated via a map of Canada with the provinces and territories presented in different colours to assist in their identification. “F is for Flag” provides an illustration of Canada’s national flag as well as the provincial and territorial flags. Canada’s five common metal currency denominations are illustrated and named on the “L is for Loonie” page. Covello stumbles a bit with the letter X: “X is for Explore”.
Overall, Canada ABC is an excellent home or gift purchase and belongs in all collections serving the young.
Dave Jenkinson, CM’s editor, lives in Winnipeg, MB.
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