CM . . .
. Volume XXIII Number 39. . . .June 16, 2017
My Canada: An Illustrated Atlas.
Katherine Dearlove. Illustrated by Lori Joy Smith.
Toronto, ON: Owlkids Books, 2017.
32 pp., hardcover, $18.67.
Canada-Maps for children.
Grades 1-4 / Ages 6-9.
Review by Ellen Heaney.
My Canada: An Illustrated Atlas is one of the simplest yet most clear and complete picture atlases I have ever seen.
The opening spread features a factual summary of Canada, including its national symbols; some population figures; and interesting information, such as that Canada has both the longest coastline and the longest international border of any country in the world.
Next comes a map of the entire country which shows provincial capitals and an inset which positions Canada in relation to the world’s continents and oceans.
Then, one by one, the provinces and territories are treated with double spreads replete with small drawings of native animals and physical and touristic landmarks. Did you know that Vegreville, AB, southeast of Edmonton, has a giant pysanky (Ukrainian Easter egg) to welcomes visitors? Or that the Alexander Graham Bell Historic site is on Cape Breton in the province of Nova Scotia?
Each province is also shown on an inset map of Canada, and the provincial flag and animal and plant symbols are included. There are also small maps of several major cities, such as Vancouver and Toronto, on the appropriate pages.
Charming full-colour illustrations of friendly-looking wildlife and busy Canadian skiers, lumberjacks and cyclists dot the maps. Historic monuments and provincial resources are shown in profusion: a squeeze bottle of mustard reminds us that Saskatchewan is one of the world’s largest growers of mustard seed, and the noting of the Group of Seven Outdoor Gallery on Georgian Bay in Ontario honours one of Canada’s most important contributions to the world of painting.
The author is a seasoned editor of OWL and Chirp magazines. Lori Joy Smith is a graphic artist whose souvenir ‘Map of Prince Edward Island’ is a bestseller in that province’s gift shops and provided the inspiration for the illustrations here.
There is so much to look at in My Canada: An Illustrated Atlas, much of which will provide a springboard to further research and discussion. Dearlove and Smith have produced a wonderful resource for classroom and public libraries.
Ellen Heaney is a retired children’s librarian living in Coquitlam, BC.
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