________________ CM . . . . Volume VIII Number 20 . . . . June 6, 2002

cover My Vancouver Sketchbook.

Robert Perry. Illustrated by Greta Guzek.
Vancouver, BC: Raincoast Books, 2001.
32 pp., cloth, $18.95.
ISBN 1-55192-436-6.

Subject Headings:
Vancouver (B.C.)-Juvenile literature.
Vancouver (B.C.)-Pictorial works.

Preschool-grade 4 / Ages 3-9.

Review by Cora Lee.

*** /4

excerpt: image

Commercial Drive

The city spills
Onto the street:
Try a latte
Or gelato treat!

Hear accents from
A hundred nations;
Enjoy the show
Of street-smart fashions .

My Vancouver Sketchbook is the travel journal of young Marina, who explores the city with sketchbook and pencils in hand. She's a tourist, a day-tripper, on an outing packed with all the must-see sights in and around Vancouver: the beaches, the gardens, the Maritime Museum, Stanley Park, Chinatown, Gastown, the Vancouver Art Gallery. While in town, she has some fun at the Vancouver International Children's Festival, takes an art class at Granville Island, and participates in East Vancouver's Illuminares Parade of Light at Trout Lake. She delves into an exploration of Science World and people-watches on Robson and The Drive. Venturing further afield, Marina also visits the Capilano Suspension Bridge, Grouse Mountain, Horseshoe Bay and Lighthouse Park on the North Shore.

     Each site takes the spotlight in turn as author Robert Perry showcases each one with a light and lively rhyme. With much information to choose from and little space with which to work, he focuses on what sparks the excitement of the bright, inquisitive kids Marina represents. As she gazes out over Spanish Banks and roams the Maritime Museum, she plays out in her imagination snippets from history. Inspired by the Nitobe Gardens at UBC, she tries her hand at haiku. At the art gallery, she muses over Emily Carr as a young girl. She watches the port of Vancouver's shipping activity, gets excited about riding the Seabus, is fascinated by the massive girth of our trees, and revels in the dizzying height of the Capilano Suspension Bridge.

     The pictures do a lot of telling as well, conveying much that couldn't possibly fit into the text. Illustrator Greta Guzek incorporates all the landmarks - like the Science World dome and the sails of Canada Place -- into a double-page "map" and features a true Vancouver landscape that includes a multi-ethnic population and a multitude of bikers, rollerbladers, skateboarders, walkers and joggers. She uses sunny, natural colours that belie our rainy reputation (some reader is sure to comment on the lack of rain) and draws with a free, easy line to suggest a youngster's touch.

     Marina's itinerary can't be taken too literally, though. It's impossible to do and see so much in a single day, and the timing is a little misleading; Grouse has no skiing in the summer, for example, and the Children's Festival and Illuminares don't run at the same time. Nonetheless, visiting kids can use the book as their personal guidebooks - as well as an inspiration for their own travel sketches -- while their parents frantically peruse Frommer's.


Cora Lee is a Vancouver writer and editor.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364