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A. C. L. Holmes, Elizabeth Holmes and John T. Shuman.

Toronto, Wiley, c1981.
440pp, paper, $10.95.
ISBN 0471-79957-2.

Grades 9 and up.
Reviewed by Ralph Wintrob.

Volume 10 Number 4.
1982 November.

This standard American textbook, now more than forty-five years old, has been updated and Canadianized (thank heaven for metric!) by two teaching masters of academic upgrading and communications at a Toronto college of applied arts and technology. Obviously, therefore, the text is better suited to post-high-school students with a commitment to improving their workaday English skills. The emphasis is on communicating on the job: writing outlines, instructions, explanations, notices, reports, correspondence, and advertising. There are even instructions on preparing for and conducting business meetings.

The thrust is practical; the chapters short; the examples and exercises pertinent; the models easily adapted. Written and oral exercises and a review of new material are features of each and every chapter. In the beginning there is a review of basic grammar and punctuation and composition style as a reference guide to the main content of the text.

For students at the high school level, the text may, however, prove rather too weighty and formidable, if only by its sheer bulk, thanks to large print, wide margins, page-long chapter titles, and conclusions.

But formidable also is the totally unrelieved repetition of style and structure. If it is used as a working text I can just hear general level students shrieking inside their head, BORING!

There must be a middle ground. And there must be a way of creating a Canadian textbook other than slavishly imitating an American edition.

Ralph Wintrob, Zion Heights J. H. S., Willowdale, ON.
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