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Pavlick, Leon E.

Illustrated by Lissa Calvert. Victoria, Braemar Books, c1985. 35pp, paperbound boards, $12.95, ISBN 0-919749-07-0. (On the Ridge series). CIP

Grade 6-9
Reviewed by Anna L. Holman

Volume 14 Number 4
1986 July

The author of this book was born and raised on a farm in southeastern Manitoba. Much of his youth was spent as a woodsman and student of natural history. He received a Bachelor of Science degree (Honours Botany) from the University of Victoria and a Master of Science degree in botany from Washington State University. He worked for nine years as a naturalist for the British Columbia Parks branch and for the past seven years as a research and interpretative botanist with the British Columbia Provincial Museum. He is a popular lecturer on native plants and natural history and has published several papers on the taxonomy of native plants in Canada.

Red Pines on the Ridge is the first in the On the Ridge series. A second series for seven to nine-year-old children is planned for the future.

The book is the story of a red pine tree that lives on a low ridge in southeastern Manitoba. The tree tells the story of the almost three hundred years it has been growing on the ridge. It speaks of the days when Indians were the only inhabitants of the ridge, of the coming of the explorers, fur traders, and pioneers, and finally of the timbermen with their crosscut saws and broadaxes. In lovely, lyrical passages it describes the plants, animals, and birds that befriend the ridge and of the welcome winds that carry its pollen and seeds, the "hope for the future of my kind."

Scientific facts on how red pines grow, reproduce, and survive are introduced in a non-didactic way. The introduction states, "A textbook image has at the same time been studiously avoided, and the liberal use of poetic imagery raises the prose to a literary level." The author has achieved this objective very skilfully. The last page is a list of selective references.

The drawings and colour illustrations by Victoria artist Lissa Calvert combine with the sensitive prose to make this book a delight to look at as well as to read. Highly recommended for nature lovers of all ages.

Anna L. Holman, Faculty of Education, University of Western Ontario, London, Ont.
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