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Rhonda O'Grady
Winnipeg, Pemmican Publications, 1994. 26pp, paper, $9.95
ISBN 0-921827-35-0. CIP

Kindergarten to Grade 2/Ages 5 to 7

Reviewed by Janice Foster

Volume 22 Number 5
1994 October

Author Rhonda O'Grady, an environmental educator, works at the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve in Winnipeg. She relates the history of the tall grass prairie and the inhabitants who have used and changed it throughout the ages. This use eventually posed threats to the existence of the natural prairie and the need arose to preserve it in its natural state in designated areas.

Bobby Bluestem is a piece of prairie bluestem grass. Through him, the story of the prairie over a period of a hundred years is told. Constructive use of the prairie by the original inhabitants, "The People," is contrasted with the gradual destruction of the grassland by the settlers and farmers, "the new people." Urban development further threatens the prairie until some concerned people fight for its preservation.

Bobby Bluestem is an imaginative narration of the changes that the tall grass prairie has experienced over time. The simplicity of plot and language seems to lend itself more to telling than to a literary form. The amateur illustrations appear to be done in coloured pencil and lack vibrancy and variety. The "Guide to the Plants and Animals in Bobby Bluestem" and the song at the end of the book are interesting additions.

This book provides young children with exposure to the environmental issue of endangered habitat. The necessity of the deliberate tone implied when contrasting the use of the prairie by "The People" and "the new people" is questionable. The "story-telling" flavour of the narrative tends to narrow the book's use to mainly that of a read-aloud story. Unfortunately, the cover curls up at the corners with slight humidity..

Bobby Bluestem is recommended, with reservations, for specific use as an environ-mental sourcebook.

Janice Foster is a teacher-librarian at Oakenwald School in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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