________________ CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 14 . . . . December 2, 2011


Red Is Best.

Kathy Stinson. Illustrated by Robin Baird Lewis.
Toronto, ON: Annick Press, 1982/2011.
26 pp., board, $6.95.
ISBN 978-1-55451-364-2.

See review at CM Archive, Vol. 11, No 1, January, 1983.

Preschool / Ages 1-3.

Review by Dave Jenkinson.

**** /4.


Canada in Colours.

Per-Henrik Gürth.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2011.
24 pp., board, $8.95.
ISBN 978-1-55453-757-0.

Subject Headings:
Colors-Juvenile literature.
Canada-Miscellanea-Juvenile literature.

See review at Vol. XIV, No. 21, June 13, 2008.

Preschool / Ages 1-3.

Review by Dave Jenkinson.

** /4.


The Very Cranky Bear.

Nick Bland.
Toronto, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2008/2011.
21 pp., board., $9.99.
ISBN 978-1-4431-0785-3.

Subject Headings:
Animals-Juvenile fiction.
Bears-Juvenile fiction.

See review at Vol. XV, No. 12, February 6, 2009.

Preschool / Ages 1-3.

Review by Dave Jenkinson.

***½ /4


All three of these books originally appeared as picturebooks, and all have recently been reissued as board books. The trio of books were generally positively reviewed in their original form, but do they successfully make the transition to this new physical format? And the answer is a "Yes" for two of them and a "Qualified Yes" for the third. Unlike some other picturebook to board book transformations that I recently reviewed in CM, each of the titles in this present book threesome was originally written to appeal to a relatively young audience, and consequently their texts did need not to modified or truncated in any way in order to make them "fit" the board book format.

internal art      Since its original publication in 1982, Stinson's Red is Best has become a Canadian classic and has been published in numerous languages around the world. Almost four decades latter, today's toddlers will still relate to Kelly and to her desire to wear and use things that feature her favourite colour.

internal art      Gürth's Canada in Colours is my qualified yes. The only change to this book is that the endpaper maps which were in the 2008 book have been eliminated. For a board book's younger audience, this omission is really not a problem, given toddlers' yet to be developed ability to understand maps. While most of Canada's population is concentrated in urban areas, the Canada that Gürth largely presents is that of a nation made up of wide open spaces. The book has two purposes, with one being to introduce children to the varied landscapes found in Canada. The other purpose is to reinforce children's knowledge of colours. I deliberately used the word reinforce as Canada in Colours is not a book to be used in introducing young children to colours as each double page spread features a scene that contains many colours beyond the pages' focal colour. For example, shades of green and blue predominate on the forest scene pages where the text reads "Purple blackberries ripen for the picking. Mmmm!" internal art

      The Very Cranky Bear also remains essentially unchanged in terms of its text and illustrations, with only slight modifications occasionally being made to where line breaks occur. Of the three books, The Very Cranky Bear is the most sophisticated in terms of its plot, and, therefore, it would not be a "first" board book to be shared with toddlers.

Red is Best - Highly Recommended.
Canada in Colours - Recommended with reservations.
The Very Cranky Bear - Highly Recommended.

Dave Jenkinson, CM's editor, lives in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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