________________ CM . . . . Volume VIII Number 21 . . . . June 21, 2002

cover A Big City ABC.

Allan Moak.
Toronto, ON: Tundra Books, 2002.
32 pp., cloth, $19.99.
ISBN 0-88776-587-4.

Subject Headings:
English language-Alphabet-Juvenile literature.
Toronto (Ont.)-Pictorial works-Juvenile literature

Preschool-grade 3 / Ages 4-8.

Review by Sylvia Pantaleo.

*** /4

A Big City ABC was first published in 1984. The new edition of Moak's alphabet book about Toronto has five new illustrations and updated text. At the end of the book, Moak writes that "My Toronto is for children; I see it through children's eyes." He explores sights and sounds that appeal to him and to children such as The Art Gallery of Ontario, the Blue Jays, Casa Loma, the Ontario Science Centre, and the rink in Nathan Phillips Square. Each page contains a black-bordered, brightly coloured illustration rendered in a folk art style. Children and adults are actively engaged in some type of activity on each page. Although Moak's illustrations depict Toronto's multicultural composition, the new illustrations could have more strongly reflected the diversity of Toronto's population. An upper- and a lower-case letter are placed in the bottom left-hand and right-hand corner of each page respectively. The simple text follows a consistent structure, "B is for Baseball," "M is for Market," and "W is for Winter." In the peritext at the end of the book, Moak provides additional information about each illustration. For example, for the letter C, Moak writes"

"C - Castle: Casa Loma stands on a hill overlooking midtown Toronto. Sir Henry Mill Pellatt's 98-room medieval-style castle was completed in 1914, and its large towers and secret passageways have made it a fairy-tale place for children ever since. After a snowfall, the castle looks even more beautiful."

internal art

     The supplementary text extends readers' knowledge about Toronto.

     Moak, born in Kingston, Ontario, is a self-taught artist. He learned his craft on scraps of canvas from a sailmaker's shop near his home. Moak moved to Toronto at age 19 and initially sold his art from the back of a van. Since that time, Moak's work has been exhibited in galleries across North America.


Sylvia Pantaleo teaches Language Arts in the Faculty of Education, the University of Victoria, Victoria, 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