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Joseph Levesque
Illustrated by Pierre Jarry; translated by Tim Wynne-Jones
Waterloo (Que.), Quintin Publishers, 1991. 24pp, cloth, $12.95
ISBN 2-920438-41-7, Distributed by University of Toronto Press. Available in French as Le harfang des neiges, CIP

Pre-school to Grade 6/Ages 3 to 11

Reviewed by Elinor Kelly

Volume 20 Number 3
1992 May

This series of picture-books, "Fauna in Colour," comes from Quebec. Six other titles are available in French. The publisher describes this series as "a collection of books especially conceived for youngsters ages 3-8 years that provides scientific information on animals via humorous text and fun-filled illustrations."

The text in rhyme, here in English by Tim Wynne-Jones, gives a simple description of the habits of this bird: "The owl to quench its appetite/ Hunts by day instead of night."

The pictures are in cartoon style. The owl is shown hunting with pith helmet, binocu­lars and butterfly net. The lemmings, its chief prey, arc shown playing golf or skiing or singing into a microphone. These illustrations are made to amuse little children, who will have to sort out for themselves the fact from the fiction. Comic book illustrations have appeal for children but some serious-minded adults like me wonder if they are the best way to introduce scientific subjects.

I myself find it offensive and wish the authors had faith in their purpose to tell children about animals as they really are, not flying in planes, drinking martinis or riding on snowmobiles.

Elinor Kelly, Port Hope, Ont.

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