|• THE JOURNEY PRIZE ANTHOLOGY
Toronto, McClelland & Stewart, 1990. 255pp, paper, $16.95, ISBN 0-7710-4431-3. CIP
The writers in this collection are contenders for James A. Michener's $10,000 Journey Prize, which is funded by royalties from the Canadian edition of his novel Journey.1 Michener designated these monies to the "support of talented writers in the early stages of their careers." Submissions for the collection were made by editors of literary journals from across Canada.
Many of these writers are prizewinners, and some names are familiar: Margaret Dyment, Cynthia Flood, Douglas Glover, Kenneth Radu. Author biographies and information about the contributing journals are located at the end of the book.
Topics and form range widely. "Billfrith, the Dreamer" by Virgil Burnett is a myth concerning a man who is turned to stone while attempting penance for his misdeeds. In contrast, native writer Thomas King tells of four-year-old Jonathan, who is obsessed by his desire to own a dog. ("The dog I wish I had, I would call it Helen.") Conversations between the child and his reluctant mother are a delightfully accurate depiction of toddler single-mindedness.
While most of the selections are set in Canada, "Let Them Say" by Jennifer Mitton is the tale of an African woman (a second wife) whose husband has ceased speaking to her. Against all tradition, she leaves, saying, "If I have sinned a thousand times to be born a woman, what is one more?" Glen Alien sets his story ("The Hua Guofeng Memorial Warehouse") in China, where bureaucracy places a dissident intellectual in an asylum. Here, he finds refuge and satisfying friendships with other academics similarly incarcerated.
Stories out of Canada's past include Wayne Tef s' Depression story "Red Rock and After," in which a young son reacts to his father's two bankruptcies. Cynthia Flood ("My Father Took a Cake to France") evokes the young romantic
academic from Ontario who evolved into a bitter University of Toronto professor, profoundly disappointed by his failure to achieve a post in Europe.
Not all the stories will appeal (e.g., Andre Alexis' "Despair: Five Stories of Ottawa") but the collection as a whole is excellent, providing a welcome encounter with newer voices.
Grades 11 and up/ Ages 16 and up
Katheryn Broughton, Thomhill, Ont. 1 Reviewed vol. XVII/2 March 1989, p. 72.
• Maheux-Forcier, Louise WORDS AND MUSIC Translated by David Lobdell Ottawa, Oberon Press, 1990. 125pp, paper, ISBN 0-88750-796-4 (paper), $12.95,0-88750-795-6 (cloth), $25.95. Originally published in French as Paroles et musique in 1973.
It has been seventeen years since Words and Music, or more accurately Paroles et musique (Le Cercle du livre de France, 1973), first appeared on Canadian bookshelves. However, time has done nothing to diminish the power of this seemingly slim work, so aptly described by its title. Indeed, this novel is as appropriate for the 1990s as it was in the 1970s. It is certainly just as poignant.
The central character in the novel is a woman, a musician, who lies in a sterile hospital room, surrounded by the high-tech gizmos of modern medicine, waiting, as she believes, to die. As she waits she replays her life, a chorus here, a chorus there, until, at last, a whole symphony is exposed for the reader to feel and to interpret.
Louise Maheux-Forcier (and translator David Lobdell) have created the subtle combination of poetry and prose, the terse economy of words, that richly allows the story to unfold with clarity and compassion:
I am hauled out of the water like a big fish at the end of a line, feeling exactly like the glittering, bedazzled, soon-to-be-encountered tern emerging from the flying foam at the end of my line of vision ....
I rest in the sweet odour of ether, in the certitude of Genevieve's presence. I am alive.
What ultimately happens, or has happened, to the central character, however, is not as vital as the process of experiencing life with her. Like any superb classical movement. Words and Music transports the reader to other dimensions. We keep a piece of its beauty within us.
Grades 12 and up/Ages 17 and up donates Moulton-Barrett, Halifax, N.S.
• Stewart, Walter
RIGHT CHURCH WRONG PEW
Toronto, MacMillan, 1990. 213pp, cloth, $19.95, ISBN 0-7715-9104-7. C1P
This is a burlesque mystery novel from the pen of journalist Walter Stewart, previously famous for his investigations into economics and politics.
The setting is a small town in cottage country. The goings-on are tongue in cheek with enough basis in reality for willing suspension of disbelief. The hero opens his door one fine summer morning to find a body on his doorstep and himself as obvious suspect. Soon to appear are the nosy neighbour widow, the dumb policeman, the retired cop, the alcoholic wife, the cheap editor, the evil developer with goons, the timid clergyman and, just in time, the mouthy female newspaper photographer to take on all comers.
The pace is breathless with a new bombshell in the last paragraph of every chapter and the motivation convincing in spite of all the teasing of the reader.
This is recommended entertainment for adult readers, who will look forward to taking on the next in the projected series.
Elinor Kelly, Port Hope, Ont.
• Boulton, Roger
THE COUNTY — QUINTE'S ISLE Toronto, Stewart House (a division of McClelland & Stewart), 1990. Unpaged, paper, $9.95, ISBN 0-7710-2653-6. CIP
• Boulton, Roger OTTAWA
Toronto, Stewart House (a division of McClelland & Stewart), 1990. Unpaged, paper, $9.95, ISBN 0-7710-2&51-X. CIP
• Boulton, Roger
Toronto, Stewart House (a division of McClelland & Stewart), 1990. Unpaged, paper, S9.95, ISBN 0-7710-2650-1. CIP
These three titles are the first in a series of twenty books by the publisher. Included in the series will be glimpses of both cities and regions that have particular scenic value. The books are collections of colour photographs. John de Visser's name appears prominently
in the promotional material, but it is not clear if only his images are used.
As a learning tool, the series has some serious weaknesses. First and foremost is the perspective the books take: the scenes are selected for their photographic qualities, not the range of information they convey about the places. Most of the images could easily have been made into post cards. Readers will only see the glossy side of life through these books.
Captions are rarely longer than half a dozen words, so they provide little context for student learning. In addition, the pages are not numbered, making it difficult to use the books in activities.
In spite of the promotional material's claim that the books are "up to the minute," some pictures have been in the photographer's files for a while.
This series is more appropriate for coffee tables than schools. Your money is probably better spent on other materials.
Grades 5 and up/Ages 10 and up
Graham Draper, Markville Secondary School, Markham, Ont.
Victoria College, University of Toronto
• Kerner, Fred
THE M&S HOME EMERGENCY HANDBOOK & FIRST-AID GUIDE
Toronto, McClelland & Stewart, 1990. 206pp, paper, $14.95, ISBN 0-7710-447&-X. C1P
This book tries to do too much. The description on the cover tells us this is "a complete handbook on protecting your children, yourself and your home against fire and floods, hurricanes and tornadoes, electrical and nuclear accidents, earthquakes and hazards away from home."
Kerner also talks about protecting your home against intruders, children and accidents, and such hazards away from home as hotel fires, winter driving and avalanches. All these topics are covered in the space of 194 pages of text followed by a general index and an index of symptoms. These two indexes should have been combined into one to aid the reader seeking information quickly in an emergency.
In his haste to cover all these possible hazards, Kerner frequently neglects to give sufficient detail and resorts to brief sentences in the imperative mode, which makes this book tedious reading.
I had occasion to consult this book and the St. John Ambulance's First Aid Safety Oriented (St. John Ambulance, 1988) when a branch hit a friend in the eye while he was trimming trees at rny cottage. The St. John Ambulance guide is vastly superior in its exact description of what to do when an object it located in different parts of the eye. It contains many more diagrams and a clearer presentation of major points with effective use of bold lettering and bullets. In short, I would not wish to rely on Kerner's handbook in an emergency requiring first aid. Other topics such as nuclear emergency preparedness and
protection from burglary are also more effectively covered in specialized publications on these topics. Not recommended.
Grades 10 and up/Ages 15 and up
Barbara Camfield, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa, Ont.
• Berton, Pierre - •
THE GREAT DEPRESSION 1929-1939
Toronto, McClelland & Stewart, 1990. 560pp, cloth, $29,95, ISBN 0-7710-1270-5. CIP
The Creat Depression chronologically covers a distinct time frame, from the stock market crash of 1929 to the entry of Canada into World Wor II.
The book, based on interviews, personal reminiscences, political diaries, government reports, newspaper articles, economic studies, etc., is a fast-paced, well-written narrative. Stories are sad and touching, giving insight into a bygone era.
This is an immensely readable and fascinating history — of soup kitchens, enforced deportations, plagues of grasshoppers and dust and drought, strikes and unions, work camps, the rise of the Social Credit, CCF and Union Nationale parties, the fear of communism and inept government. It also reveals the fearful trampling of human rights — civil, economic, social and political — in Canada during that decade. Wonderful characters emerge: Tim Buck, Mitch Hepburn, Bill Aberhart, Maurice Duplessis. The prime ministers, R.0. Bennett and Mackenzie King, emerge as the villains.
Footnotes, a bibliography and an index complete the book.
Recommended for high school and public libraries.
Grades 11 and up/Ages 16 and up
Donna]. Adrian, Laurenval School Board, Rosemere, Que.
• Brownlie, Fay, Susan Close, and Linda Wingren
TOMORROW'S CLASSROOM TODAY: STRATEGIES FOR CREATING ACTIVE READERS, WRITERS, AND THINKERS
Markham (Ont.), Pembroke Publishers,
1990. 160pp, paper, $18.95, ISBN 0-
The authors of this "how to" book for teachers of elementary children have had experience in both elementary and secondary panels. They have served in consulting roles and in teacher education.
This publication represents their second collaborative work. The book takes the form of teaching strategies presented in a step-by-step manner complete with teacher script and student examples. At the end of each chapter there is a "recipe" step-by-step guide to each strategy. Each chapter opens with a brief description of the strategy and several quotes from educators.
While the text promises to offer "strategies for developing thinking and learning," it is very selective in the strategies presented and very "uncreative" and structured in the method of presentation.
Not a lot of attention is paid to the thematic approach. The first chapter, "On the Edge," begins with a look at a study of a wolf theme. However, subsequent chapters isolate various thinking skills such as "Strategic Teaching," "Thinking Bubbles," "Building Characters" and "Listen-Sketch-Draft." These, while somewhat thought provoking, are in no way the leading "thinking skills" recognized by experts in this field. Nor is any mention made of there being other strategies left out of this investigation. The chapter on "Becoming Researchers" makes use of an excellent strategy, "Inquiry Approach," made famous in Ontario by Dr. Len Popp and his followers out of Brook University. Yet, the authors make no reference to Popp in the chapter or in the lengthy bibliography.
As well, the authors claim to have examined and addressed various learning/teaching styles. If there is any further attention to this important area, it is implied, not stated. The last eight pages of the book are devoted to student and teacher forms for several of the strategies presented in the text. One might question both the practicality of the forms and the convenience of placing these forms at the end instead of within the appropriate chapters.
Although these educators are to be commended for their attempts to bring thinking and learning together in education, I believe they have failed to do their research into current thinking literature.
This book would have been greatly improved by a more informed selection of strategies and by selecting a single theme, such as wolves presented early in the first chapter, and following this theme through the strategies presented. A more thorough look at Co-operative Learning as a teaching strategy and other better thinking skills would have made this publication more useful and more credible.
Gail K. Lennon, Lambton County Board of Education, Sanaa, Ont.
• ALL MY RELATIONS: AN ANTHOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY CANADIAN NATIVE FICTION
Edited by Thomas King Toronto, McClelland & Stewart, 1990. 220pp, paper, $16.95, ISBN 0-7710-6706-2. CIP
King, born in California of Cherokee, Greek and German descent, taught native studies at the University of Lethbridge for ten years and has spent the past year teaching American Studies at the University of Minnesota. His publishing credits include short stories and co-editing a volume of critical essays on the native in literature. His first novel, Medicine River (Penguin, 1990), was published in the spring and he is currently working on another.
In the informative introduction King explores the reasons for his title choice and outlines how some of his selections fit into the theme. He provides insight into the relationship between traditional native culture and contemporary literature, from which he has chosen a "representative sample."
The nineteen choices include a story for reading aloud, short stories ranging in theme from folklore to the sweet-sad tale of the little Indian girl befriended by her elderly black male neighbour upon her mother's death, and a scene from Act 1 of Tomson Highway's Rez Sisters, chosen for its relationship to the title theme.
King includes a photograph and biographical data for eighteen of the contributors. Most have several publishing credits including poetry, cartoons, novels and editing, and some have won prestigious awards.
All My Relations is highly recommended for public, secondary school, and academic libraries. In the school context it will provide a valuable resource for Canadian literature courses and a senior independent study unit on native literature and culture. Well bound, with appealing cover.
Grades 10 and up/Ages 15 and up
Lillian M. Turner, City of York Board of Education, Toronto, Ont.
• Assu, Harry with Joy Inglis ASSU OF CAPE MUDGE: RECOLLECTIONS OF A COASTAL INDIAN CHIEF
Vancouver, University of British Columbia Press, 1989. 163pp, paper, ISBN 0-7748-0341-X (paper), S19.95, ISBN 0-7748-0333-9 (cloth), $29.95. CIP
Kwagiulth Chief Harry Assu is a gentle, honourable man whose knowledge of his people reaches across his own experience to his childhood memories of elders' stories from the time before European contact on the B.C. coast.
Assu of Cape Mudge is enhanced by Hilary Stewards sketches of artefacts, along with photographs and maps. The illustrations provide a physical context for a life that included seasonal journeys on the waters of Johnstone Strait and Discovery Passage; the elaborate gift-giving and ceremony of the potlatch and the enforcement of their "illegality" in the 1920s; a lifetime of salmon and herring fishing along the coast; and profound change in the village at Cape Mudge on Quadra Island.
When Harry Assu was a boy in the early years of the century, his grandfather
had power from the beings that were in the waters here in his time, especially the whales. If the canoes were having a hard time making their way up Discovery Passage and into Johnstone Strait against the northwest wind and whales were sighted, my grandfather would holler out to them to bring a south easier. The whales would answer by splashing their tails. The wind would then die down and soon the southeast wind would begin to blow, sending the canoes forward. What 1 know of the power of eagles, raven, whales and other Beings, 1 learned mostly from my mother's father, Jim Naknakim.... He told me the stories of his lifetime on these waters. I learned many things from him that once happened to our people, but not any more.
Harry Assu records other losses. Making a living from salmon fishing has become a more complicated and tenuous business than it was when the Assu seiner, the B.C. P. 45, appeared on the five dollar bill in 1958.
Anthropologist Joy Inglis, who is a
long-time friend and neighbour of She Cape Mudge people, has carefully recorded Harry Assu's memories. Her chapter notes and appendices add detailed information on Kwakwala language orthography and on any of the mythological and historical events referred to in the text.
Teachers suggesting the book to either non-native students or to those who are unfamiliar with the coast may wish to offer a more general description of traditional Kwagiulth society as an introduction.
Grades 8 to 12/Ages 13 to 17 Joan Skogan, Vancouver, B.C.
bar wise, Jo anne E.
Animal Tracks of Western Canada
Grades 7 to 9 (Nature/The
• Taylor, Dave
SAFARI: JOURNEY TO THE END
Erin (Ont.), Boston Mills Press, 1990. 120pp, paper, $19.95, ISBN 1-55046-016-1. CIP
Dave Taylor is a teacher in Ontario and a natural history writer and photographer. A few years ago he went on safari to Kenya with a private car and driver, an arrangement which gave him time to linger, observe and photograph as long as he wanted.
All the photographs were taken within two weeks and the only animal seen but not caught on film was the leopard. The book is more than half pictures and they are magnificent: lions, giraffes, elephants, zebras, warthogs, rhinos and so on, and many, many birds.
All the parks and reserves in Kenya were visited — first the semi-desert north, where Elsa (Bom Free) lived.
Lions, cheetahs, gerenuks, dik dik, elephants — all these are closely observed and their habits described. Next comes Mt, Kenya with its herds of Cape buffalo, troops of sykes' monkeys, and black rhino. Then the grasslands with zebra, ostrich, impala and other antelope. On to Mara country with its vast herds, the place where sky and grass meet that the Maasai call "The End." Here are seen lion kills among the herds of all kinds of plant-eaters. A sequence on wildebeast trying to cross the river is truly graphic. Last is the dry lake area in sight of Kilimanjaro with all the big game Africa is famous for and hundreds of species of birds and poachers, too. The author points out that Kenya has a better wildlife preservation track record than North America. Where are our free-roaming grizzlies or bison?
This book succeeds in its aim of persuading the reader that these animals are worth preserving. It is tourist dollars that keep them alive. Anyone who can is urged to go on safari. Certainly, the stories and pictures are the sort that make you ring up your travel agent before even looking at your bank book. For school use this is a "reading" book, not in textbook format, that is, with a wide appeal both to children and grown ups. Includes map and index.
Grades 7 and up/Ages 12 and up Elinor Kelly, Port Hope, Ont.
• Brewster, Elizabeth
Ottawa, Oberon Press, 1990. 109pp, paper, ISBN 0-88750-978-0 (paper) $1195,0-88750-797-2 (cloth), $12.95.
Spring Again is not a mere collection of poems by one of Canada's major poets. It is a book of well-crafted poems that purport to be cantos, united by the author's anxiety to find meaning in life, which meaning she ultimately asserts. The simple narrative structure of the thirteenth poem, "The Story," belies a far more challenging degree of complexity. If the model in 'The Story" is Dante, read through Pound's Cantos, Brewster gives the reading a new twist by playing her feminine reality against the chaos of Pound's — and Dante's — masculine world.
Pound, who is echoed and referred to throughout the collection, first as the berater of the irrational "minor poet" Yeats and therefore also of the minor Canadian "poetess" Brewster, once remarked that his cantos could never be
finished, unlike Dante's, because he did not live in the splendour of western civilization but in its fragmented remains. Brewster, while recognizing this fragmentation throughout her cantos, finds unity in more feminine aspects of life.
These cantos are the fruit of her anxiety to give meaning to life after retiring from her very successful career as a professor of English at Saskatoon. The collection begins with menial images of unity. The anxiety of age and retirement calls for the need to return to the certainty of cycles that assert continuation and life, such as menstruation, gardening and love.
Spring Again is an excellent collection of Canadian feminist poems, which can only enhance Brewster's stature in Canadian literature.
L. Maingon, University of Western Ontario, London, Ont.
LIGHT OF BURNING TOWERS
Montreal, Ve"hicule Press, 1990. 160pp, paper, $12.95, ISBN 1-55065-007-6. Distributed by University of Toronto Press. CIP
This book offers something for everyone. Can't stand the brutal sights in Central America today (political prisoners, guts ripped open, thrown from helicopters)? Go back 500 years and enter an older, brutal world. Go farther back, then, 2,000 years or more to China and the creation of the pottery army, the mad dream of an emperor who sealed in the living artisans with their creations. Come back to Kent State in Ohio, 1970, and watch an innocent student get her trachea severed by a bullet. Well, then, over the border to Canada and safe in childhood memories. Observe as the boy and his father slaughter a pig and the "thick well of blood gushes from the stuck throat" and
the boy faints. So, into the present — Ontario and the good life — Rheal living in the dump, killing animals, cursing God, and telling of the nuns who
beat you mercilessly as a child, placed their fine black boots on your
and applied repeatedly to your ass the yardstick with its trinity of feet.
Midway through the collection is a poem, "The Use of Poetry," in which Geddes laments that poems are,
seldom found in bookstores or on the lips of small children.
Ironic in view of his subjects. This poem ends with a plea, a fine bit of writing, which sings of the poet at work:
But let there be
always someone in a small room
above the street and its tragedies...
And even in this vision, war and destruction intrude, as a soldier passing in the rubble is the only one to see the poet's work, "these words of fire and wind."
This line from his poem on Philip Larkin will be, perhaps, Geddes' own epitaph: "He was a man whose words stopped short of ecstasy." Still, this collection is a sincere, carefully crafted and powerful record of one aspect of life — something to meditate on for those who find the TV news and documentaries too ephemeral.
Grades 11 and up/Ages 16 and up lan Dempsey, Cambridge, Ont.
• THE PRAIRIE JOURNAL OF
CANADIAN LITERATURE #13 — VOICES FROM EARTH: SELECTED POEMS
Distributed by Canadian Magazine Publishers Association, 2 Stewart St., Toronto, Ont. M5V1H6. 52pp, paper, $4.00, ISBN 0-920689-08-6. CIP
Voices from Earth consists of short selections of about twenty pages each from the poetry of Ronald Kurt and Mark McCawley, two Edmonton writers. As the title suggests, nature and man's relationship with the natural world are highlighted. Frankly, I was not impressed by either writer. Neither appears well versed in his craft. Both seem cursed with tin ears. Their writings look like modern open form poems, but they sound and read like the offerings of someone who hasn't quite understood the theory underlying the form — someone who has read, but not quite heard, the works of more accomplished writers. There are awkward line breaks and unimaginative vocabulary and imagery.
The following excerpt from Kurt is typical of the stumbling ugliness of both writers:
Singing about forests in a tiny city room A vision and a tree is suddenly beside me
The passage is also typical of the wishy washy one-with-nature mysticism they affect. The title of the book may carry an allusion to Bliss Carman, but even on a bad day he would not have produced such stuff.
Don Precosky, College of New Caledonia, Prince George, B.C.____
• Sorestad, Glen
AIR CANADA OWLS: TRAVEL POEMS
Madeira Park (B.C.), Nightwood Editions, 1990. 77pp, paper, $7.95, ISBN 1-55017-020-1. Distributed by Harbour Publishing, P.O. Box 219, Madeira Park, B.C. VON2HO. CIP
It is rare for a modern poet to publish poems on a theme. These travel poems take us by plane, train, automobile, canoe and foot to Holland, Luxembourg, Germany, France, Italy, Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia and the southwestern United States. Good travel pictures, according to someone I know, must always have people in them, preferably people we know. The scenes are incidental, backdrops for the real centre of interest. Sorestad believes that, too, and he tries to make us familiar with his people. If there are no others around, he puts himself in the picture.
There is no one in these poems that we would not meet if we walked our own streets. We each inhabit the same exotic locales. The poet's travelling shrinks the globe into an interior circling. A point of light from a plane in the night sets Sorestad to revolving:
Perhaps another poet is up there,
coming or going from another reading, pen in hand,
filling time roughing out lines about night
Sorestad attempts to picture an "old boy" asleep in a mall in Germany, with the wistful beginning, "If I were a painter...." If not a painter, then he is a quick-sketch artist. We do not have to study these sketches hard. They lack the complexity and hard-line detail of finished pictures. It is up to us to make the complete picture, out of ourselves, our memories, experiences. Perhaps this is all that we can expect of most poetry.
The poet sketches himself into the corner, or right into the centre of most of his pictures. In only a few cases does he leave himself out and try to make a sharp, finished picture. In "Amsterdam Evening" and "Four Airports in Late November" Sorestad uses the same format — four separate scenes in three lines each. In one of these,
An aging prostitute, stoned or
drunk, sits on the sidewalk beside a potted
plant, her day in utter disarray.
These are small canvases, miniatures, and are a welcome contrast to the loose, broad strokes of most of his sketching.
The trip is worthwhile, if only because Sorestad has taken the time to remind us of what we have known and experienced ourselves.
Grades 10 and up/Ages 15 and up ton Dempsey, Cambridge, Ont.
The Outsider: The Life of Pierre Ettiott
Grades 10 and up (Biography)
• Cianciolo, Patricia J. PICTURE BOOKS FOR CHILDREN
Chicago, American Library Association, 1990. 231pp, paper, $25.00 (U.S.), ISBN 0-8389-0527-7. Distributed by ALA Books, 50 East Huron St., Chicago, 111. 60611. CIP
This, the third, revised, and enlarged edition of Picture Books for Children, has been written by a professor of children's and adolescent literature at Michigan State University. The introduction discusses the values and uses of picture-books, current trends in writing and illustration, and criteria for evaluation.
An annotated bibliography of approximately 150 titles comprises the main body of the work. They include fiction, non-fiction and poetry, and are divided into four categories, such as "Me and My family" and "The World I Live in." An index of authors (compilers, editors, etc.), illustrators, and titles follows. Most of the titles are from the last decade, with a cut-off imprint date of March 1989.
The vast majority of the titles are American, with the very occasional nod in the direction of other English language publishing (British, Canadian, and Australian) and translations.
This is not a priority purchase for Canadian librarians.
Professional AdekAshby, Toronto, Ont.
• Kelly, Brian and Daniel Francis
TRANSIT IN BRITISH
COLUMBIA: THE FIRST
HUNDRED YEARS Madeira Park (B.C.), Harbour Publishing, 1990. I60pp, cloth, $39.95, ISBN 1-55017-021-X. CIP
Brian Kelly, a former bus driver and now a manager with B.C. Transit, has had a long-standing interest in transit memorabilia. He has provided the documentation for most of this book, which deals with land-based, largely urban public transit from the jitney era to the jet age.
The text is well illustrated in both colour and black and white, with picture of men, vehicles, locales and construction techniques. The book goes far beyond the commonplace when it tells of the suburban trams/rail ways, the freight carriers, and the politics and business behind the public transit system in the Vancouver-Victoria area.
This volume will be a resource for younger readers. It might be a nostalgia trip for older ones, because the vehicles were often made in Ontario and sold to cities across Canada. The tall green streetcars, the silent trolleys, the sleek rounded PCCs that we as children
longed to travel on, the magical, majestic, open sightseeing streetcars with their golden railings had sister vehicles in Montreal or the Maritimes.
Dan Francis is a researcher who has published books such as Partners in Furs-'1 He has done his usual thorough job in writing the final chapter, describing the elevated Sky Train and the aluminum ferry, the SeaBus, which can manoeuvre in four directions as it crosses Burrard Inlet.
The book has an appendix and an index, yet detail is not so exhaustive as to discourage browsing. The real enthusiast would follow up the reading with a visit to the local transit museum.
Grades 7 and up/Ages 12 and up
Robin Lewis, Riverdak High School, Pierrefonds, Que. i Reviewed vol. XI/4 July 1983, p. 163.