Canadian Shield Alphabet

14 January 2009

The Canadian Shield Alphabet
by Myrna Guymer
Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing
Review by Marie Powell Mendenhall
$24.95 CDN ISBN: 978-1-894431-23-1

If you thought you knew every word that could be used to illustrate the alphabet in a child’s picture book, you haven’t seen this alpha-book.

Kookum and kinnikinnik, qiviut and ungulates are among its illustrated concepts. What’s a qasgiq, or an ulu? The Canadian Shield Alphabet has the answers. More familiar terms like northern lights (“Aurora Borealis”) and meteorites connect school-aged readers to a variety of subjects, as they learn about the land, people, and culture important in several Canadian provinces crossing Shield country.

Taiga and tundra are among its landscapes, as are rivers, lakes, swamps, forests. Animals like voles, pelicans, seals, otters, and polar bears help tell the story of this northern environment. As well, birds like the peregrine falcon, snowy owl, ptarmigan, and Canada Goose make an appearance.

The land abounds with history as well, and these pages also mention such explorers as Alexander Mackenzie, David Thompson, and Alexander Henry from the late 1700s.

Myrna Guymer of Denare Beach, Saskatchewan uses the knowledge she’s gained on her travels by canoe and airplane, to share the adventure of the Canadian Shield with young readers. Trains, tundra buggies, York boats, dog sleds, and whitewater rafts also appear on the pages of her book. Paintings by RoseMarie Condon of Fenelon Falls, Ontario, aptly illustrate the unique world of the Canadian Shield.

Readers also learn about the region and its natural resources through a brief introduction and map. As well, a matching game and glossary appear at the back of the book.


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