Friday, February 17, 2012

SPL Shelf Life [kids]


The Great Big Book of Families, by Mary Hoffman, 32 pages.
@ SPL:  J 306.85 Hof
Some families are large, with lots of children, or with grandparents, aunts and uncles living in the same house. Some families have as few as two people. Some families are stepfamilies. In some families, some or all of the children have been adopted. Some families have pets; some don’t. Some families travel a lot, and others never travel. Some families have traveled from far away to make new homes in other countries. Some families live in houses, others in apartments.
Some families are rich. Some are poor.
Some families read together. Others share sports activities. Some do both.
In some families, everyone shares their feelings, while in others, people tend to keep their feelings to themselves.
Mary Hoffman’s large, colourful book is a celebration of all types and sorts of families and their lives together – just in time for Family Day on Monday February 20. Told with sensitivity and humour, the illustrations of artist Ros Asquith enable this inclusive book to capture the diversity and the similarities of families around the world, and concludes that there is no one “right” way to be a family.
For added interest, a quirky yellow cat is hidden somewhere on each spread for children to find.
This would be a wonderful book for parents and grandparents to share with young children, especially as Family Day on February 20 approaches.
** Recommended for ages 3 to 7 years.
 
Canada On Fire, by Jennifer Crump, 202 pages.
@ SPL:  J 971.034 Cru
At the onset of the War of 1812, American President Thomas Jefferson boasted that conquering Canada would be “a mere matter of marching”. He was wrong. Often known as “the war that nobody won”, the War of 1812 continued for three years and at the end, when the Treaty of Ghent was signed, Canada had not only defended itself successfully, but a new Canadian identity and pride had been forged.
There are plenty of “Did you know?s” in this book, such as “Did you know that many of the battles of this war were fought on water – on the Great Lakes and the eastern seaboard?” and “Did you know that at one point in the war, Washington was invaded and the White House and Capitol buildings were set on fire?”
Informative and well-written, Canada on Fire would be interesting reading for both students and adults, as author Jennifer Crump’s style of writing makes the war, its battles and its heroes and personalities “come alive” for readers. The inclusion of an index, a chronology of significant dates, chapter notes, maps, drawings, and lists of primary and secondary sources of information also make this book a well-researched resource to students who are studying this pivotal time in Canadian history.
A relevant question for any book covering the War of 1812 is whether the author gives fair treatment to both sides of the conflict. In this book, the author is careful to give equal coverage to the victories and defeats of both the Canadian/British and the American troops. 
A review of this book is timely, as 2012 marks the 200th anniversary of the start of the War of 1812 and Ontario Heritage Week will be observed from February 20 to 26.
Canada on Fire is one of the titles available in the “Canadians at War” series. Readers may also be interested an earlier book, Canada Under Attack,also by Jennifer Crump, who lives in Smooth Rock Falls, Ontario.
** Recommended for ages 13 years and up.

These reviews appeared in The Stratford Gazette on February 16, 2012. Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian.

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