Table of Contents

 Book Reviews

 Proud to Be a Poopini.
Dave Sindrey. Illustrated by Chum McLeod.
Review by Jennifer La Chapelle.
Grades K - 3 / Ages 4 - 8.

 Wacky Word Games.
Margie Golick. Illustrated by Jane Churchill.
Review by Lorraine Douglas.
Grades 3 - 4 / Ages 7 - 9.

 Street People Speak.
Ruth Morris and Colleen Heffren.
Review by Kathleen L. Kellett-Betsos.
Grades 10 - 13 / Ages 14 - Adult.

 Video Reviews

 Freedom Had a Price.
Producer/Director: Yurij Luhovy.
Review by Patricia Maruschak.
Grades 7 - 13 / Ages 11 - Adult.

 Hands of History..
Directed by Loretta Todd.
Review by Adele Case.
Grades 7 - 13 / Ages 11 - Adult.


 The Little Math Puzzle

Duncan Thornton

Executive Assistant
Peter Tittenberger

From the Editor

A Few of Your Favourite Things

Dark questions have been muttered around the snow-filled halls and alleys that constitute CM's working environment lately: Why has it been so long since there's been an editorial? Doesn't Duncan care anymore? Has he lost his drive, his passion, his bitterness?

No, it's just that I've been in Banff. Through the miracles of electronic publishing, I was able to spend the last two weeks in the mountains at an intensive workshop for writers of radio drama while continuing to work on CM in the hours I should have been sleeping. Just as if I'd never left Winnipeg!*

This brings up the topic of this week's editorial (you were beginning to wonder, weren't you?): the mixed blessings of the new, electronic world.

Armed with a modem, lap-top, and a generous long-distance budget, there's no reason to ever be out of touch with your job. Or, if you like, there's no reason to fool yourself into thinking you can get away and have a vacation.

Like those ads where a proud grandfather uses a cell-phone to let everyone know about the fish his grandson just caught. Seems sort of sweet until you see the other one with the couple out for a picnic and Mr. Up-to-Date is barking something unheard into his cell-phone ("Buy low! Sell high!") while his lovely date swings romantically, and unheeded, on his other arm. There's the future in a nutshell.

But I'm sure there's something good about electronic life or I would have found another line of work, or joined the monkey-wrench gang, or something.

So what I'm asking you to do, CM readers, is to help me in my moment of doubt: send in letters about your most (and least) favourite things on the Internet. Particularly Canadian things.

You see (to really get to the point), because we plan to start running regular reviews of other Internet resources and web-sites along with the usual run of books, videos, CD-ROMs, and so on, we'd appreciate all the leads we can get. Internet sites and services pop up way too fast for us to keep track of without help from our readers.

If you have ideas to get this new section of the magazine running, would like to commiserate about the end of my holiday, or have any other comments, suggestions, or complaints, as always, just send e-mail to the address beneath my name.

-- Duncan Thornton, Editor

*I did get out once, only to find that in Banff everything is more expensive. Also, some parts of the ground are higher -- much higher -- than other parts.

Book Review

Proud to Be a Poopini.

Dave Sindrey. Illustrated by Chum McLeod.
Toronto: Napoleon Publishing, 1995. 30pp, paper, $10.95.
ISBN 0-92914-138-5.

Grades K - 3 / Ages 4 - 8.
Review by Jennifer La Chapelle.


At school, Pogo Poopini wouldn't wear the sparkly costume that his mother had made him. Pogo wore jeans and T-shirts just like everybody else.
He didn't tell anyone about his pet anteater Lucie, who could walk a tightrope. Pogo was worried that people would think his family was weird.

Pogo Poopini is a boy with a problem: how to keep his friends from knowing that his family is made up of circus stars? Pogo copes by leading two separate lives, until the inevitable Open House at his school. When a fire breaks out during this event, the Poopinis prove their worth by helping Miss Garbonzo and her students escape. Pogo lends his own circus skills to the drama, and learns that being different can also mean being very special.

Few and far between are the children who will reach adulthood without experiencing in some small measure the fear that friends will perceive some aspect of their family life as bizarre. Proud to Be a Poopini, Dave Sindrey's first book, will help children understand that differences can be a source of pride.

Told in the third person, the story flows smoothly throughout. Yet Sindrey's plot devices at times reveal his novice status as an author. Chum McLeod's art work, on the other hand, shows the refinement one would expect from the illustrator of eight children's books. The colours and layout add substantially to the book's appeal. In particular, her depiction of the bearded Aunt Marge fills out this well-developed secondary character.

This imaginative use of a circus theme to explore the age-old issue of self-esteem will find an enthusiastic audience.


Jennifer La Chapelle is the head of a multi-branch public library in Ontario. In addition to an M.L.S., she holds degrees in Political Science, English, and History.

Book Review

Wacky Word Games.

Margie Golick. Illustrated by Jane Churchill.
Markham, ON: Pembroke Publishers Limited, 1995. 32pp, paperback, $4.95.
ISBN 1 55138 029 3.

Grades 3 - 4 / Ages 7 - 9.
Review by Lorraine Douglas.


The Nose Knows

When two or more words sound the same but have different meanings, they are called "homophones." Sniff out a homophone, or sound-alike word, for each of these words.


This playful and engaging puzzle book features word games: rhyming, alliteration, scrambled words, and several other kinds. The presentation is lively and there are comic illustrations to help children solve the puzzles.

The book is intended for home use as it contains a number of puzzles in which letters are written in spaces. The whole family will enjoy the word games and several are quite challenging. An answer key is included.

This is a good value for parents interested in a family activity with their children. Teachers would also find some good examples of imaginative ways to present these concepts in a classroom.


Lorraine Douglas is Youth Services Coordinator for the Winnipeg Public Library.

Book Review

Street People Speak.

Ruth Morris and Colleen Heffren.
Oakville, ON: Mosaic Press. 150pp, paper, $9.95.
ISBN 0-88962-364-3.

Grades 10 - 13 / Ages 14 - Adult.
Review by Kathleen L. Kellett-Betsos.


"Did you ever watch a streetcar go by, and see the whole streetcar look at you with disgust? I have been on that corner, and seen those looks. They should think, `Thank God, through the grace of God, I am not there.' Because the same thing could happen to them."

This book is a timely antidote to the abundant myths we've all heard about life on the streets: "Those people choose to be there; they're all lazy drunks anyway; they don't care about anyone or anything" and, most of all, "it couldn't happen to me and mine." Ruth Morris, a Ph.D in sociology/social work from the University of Michigan, and Colleen Heffren, a community educator and poverty activist, have based this book on interviews of eighty-two street people, taken from as wide a variety as possible in terms of sex, age, race, family situation, and length of time on the street.

Through personal accounts about life on the streets, the ins and outs of hostels and drop-in centres, the street people interviewed make it clear that being homeless is very rarely a matter of choice. More compelling than mere statistics about nameless individuals, these interviews elicit compassion and understanding. One particularly eloquent speaker is Jerry, a bright kid whose relatively well-off parents, unable to cope with his rebelliousness, handed him over to Children's Aid at the age of fourteen. Men such as Chuck and Tom recount their experience of hitting the bottom when their marriages broke up and they were cut off from ex-wives and children.

Carol and her child ended up living in a hostel after her husband abandoned them. When his wife died, Sol began drinking, which lead to problems at work, then loss of his job, and, eventually, life on the street. André had to bring his wife and baby to a family hostel after he lost his fifteen-dollar-an-hour job. Many complain about this trap: job loss leads to homelessness, which in turn makes it next to impossible to get a job. Other factors include mental illness, systemic discrimination against native peoples, alcoholism, and illiteracy. Most of all, homelessness is the result of a lack of affordable housing, in part, because of the gentrification of city neighbourhoods and the loss of single-room occupancy housing.

In their chapter on possible solutions to the problem of homelessness, Morris and Heffren stress that more hostels, however essential these may now be to many of the homeless, are not the answer. Their suggestions include increased nonprofit and low-income housing, an increased minimum wage, a minimum income for those with children, and a tax credit for each child.

Despite an irritating number of typographical errors, this book is important because it gives an authentic representation of life on the street, through interviews and photographs and poems written by street people. Its presentation of the plight of the homeless and possible solutions to poverty would be a good starting place for discussion in secondary school classes from grade ten on.


Kathleen L. Kellett-Betsos is a French Professor at Ryerson Polytechnic University in Toronto.

Video Review

Freedom Had a Price.

Producer/Director: Yurij Luhovy.
National Film Board of Canada: 1994. VHS, 55 minutes.

Grades 7 - 13 / Ages 11 - Adult.
Review by Patricia Maruschak.

Towards the end of Freedom Had a Price, Professor Lubomyr Luciuk comments that Canadians have come to see the years of World War I as a time when Canada forged itself as a nation, yet the contributions of non-English or French Canadians have been almost completely ignored. Producer/director Yurij Luhovy's film is a first-rate attempt to expose the cracks in this vision.

Freedom Had a Price thoroughly documents the internment of five thousand Ukrainian immigrants, labelled enemy aliens by the Canadian government, between 1914 and 1920. The film effectively interweaves eye-witness accounts, narration, historical overviews, and lots of original photographs to provide a vivid picture of life in the internment camps.

This film would be an excellent supplement to junior or senior high units on World Wars I and II, but for students to truly benefit from the information provided some understanding of the issues of racism and prejudice and how they can be manipulated during times of war is necessary. Comments about the internees by "real Canadians," such as "They were in the place where they should be. They were prisoners and they were enemies of ours," and unbelievable photos of the looting of German-Canadian clubs are almost painful to sit through but, if carefully presented, Freedom Had a Price could help answer students' inevitable question about the Holocaust: "Why did people let this happen?"

Freedom Had a Price is an intelligent, well-made film that would be a valuable asset to any thorough history course.

Highly recommended.

Patricia Maruschak is a Winnipeg teacher.

Video Review

Hands of History.

Directed by Loretta Todd.
Studio D, National Film Board of Canada: 1994. VHS, 52 minutes.
Order number: 9194 001.

Grades 7 - 13 / Ages 11 - Adult.
Review by Adele Case.

Hands of History is a visually beautiful film with an historical component. Director Loretta Todd, who has an aboriginal background, celebrates the renaissance of women in much of the mixed media art and craft forms that can be found in Canada. All of the artists who appear in the film are women, and their backgrounds are in tribes in British Columbia (Stol:o, Gitskan) and east of the Rockies (Chippewan, Blood). Todd has tried to show the early life and early influences of each artist, and clearly these strong, determined women have had to cope with varying degrees of discrimination in a society that has neglected their cultural heritage.

The film follows four aboriginal artists. Jane Ash Poitras works with paint, print making, and collage. Her works have been shown in Canada, the United States, and Germany. Joane Cardinal-Schubert works with mixed-media, and some of her productions have chalk-board explanations that help to put a viewer into the context in which she created the work. This powerful artist has been vocal in criticising colonialism. Rena Point Bolton has worked from childhood in weaving a myriad of baskets. She comments that artists have "carried the culture of the people." Bolton has personally revived the forgotten art of Tsimshian weaving, and she now teaches her craft, from the early work of searching for suitable seaweeds, bark, or grasses, to the preparation of the material, and finally through all stages of the weaving process. Todd enlivens the section on Bolton with black-and-white footage of early basket weavers, who often sold their wonderful creations for tiny sums to supplement the family income. The last artist profiled, Doreen Jensen, is a founding member of the K'san Village and Native Artists' Centre. Jensen makes her own tools, and has created works as varied as masks, button blankets, bentboxes, jewellery, and prints.

The prime focus of this film is to show adolescents and others the range of native art, art that can help aboriginal people reclaim their heritage. Fittingly, Hands of History introduces the belief that out that parents or grandparents can speak to their descendants through totems. But even non-native people can share in the feeling of peace possible when viewing fine totems that show faces, birds, and animal forms.

Because the documentation of Indian art was originally anthropological, "women's art" was often not recorded, or was considered mere craft work. This film will help to dispel that notion, as the works displayed show the talent, the wonderful facility with colour, and the simplicity and strength of works that vary from masks to blankets, from baskets to collages, from dance dresses to mats.

This film should have wide appeal in schools, both in social studies and art classes. Hopefully, it will also encourage many young native girls in particular to explore their past, and to seek out fulfilment in studying and creating their own art.


Adele Case is a high-school teacher who lives in West Vancouver.


The Little Math Puzzle Contest

Tom Murray, the coordinator of the the math puzzle, has been kind enough to give CM permission to run the weekly Little Math Puzzle Contest (inspired by The Great Canadian Trivia Challenge.)

Royal West Academy (a high school) in Montreal, Quebec is sponsoring a little math puzzle contest.

This contest is open to all participants but is designed for students in grades five through ten. English will be the language used for all problems and if their solutions relate to a language, the language will be English.

This will be the last question before Christmas we will start up again when school begins in January. Have an enjoyable holiday.

You can find archives of old questions and winners lists on our web page. We have lost the winners list for the second puzzle and would be pleased to have it forwarded to us from anyone who still has it.

We can also be found on the Web at:

Contest Format:

Each week a new puzzle will be presented and the answers and winners from two weeks earlier will be posted. Answers are to be received by 8:00 a.m. eastern time the following Friday.

The answers will then be judged, and a correct answer, along with the winners' names, will be posted with the puzzle two weeks later.

Both individual students and entire classes are welcome to participate.

Do not to send your answers to CM.
Instead, please send all answers to Andrea Pollock and Alex Nazarov at the following address:

With your solution please include your names, school, grade, and e-mail address, and your city.

Question #13 from two weeks ago was the following:

What are the next two numbers in the set?

30, 27, 9, 12, 9, 3, 6, 3, 1, ___, ___

Answer #13:

The values are 4, 1

The values change with a pattern in the operations with 3:

-3 /3 +3 -3 /3 +3 -3 /3 +3=4 -3=1

The Winners - Solvers of Puzzle #13

  1. Mrs. Harris's 4/5 class St. Margarets Ont.
  2. Mme. Keith's gr. 9B and 9C - Sussex Junior High
  3. Steven Weerdenburg - Mrs. Robertson's Gr. 3 Gregory Hogan School - Sarnia, Ont.
  4. Frank Spano - Mrs. Pitt's class Gregory Hogan - Sarnia, Ontario
  5. Halina Waverchuk's Group 3 Math class, Venture High School, Montreal.
  6. Marcheta Gallant's Math Classes 9-1 and 9-3. Labrador City Collegiate - Labrador City, Newfoundland and Labrador
  7. Grade 6A students L. E. Reinsborough School, Dalhousie, N. B. Canada
  8. Chris Machado grade 8 Gregory A. Hogan school.
  9. Grade 9 Math Class Oyen Public School
  10. Mrs. C. Ager's Grade 7/8 Class St. THerese's School - Sarnia, Ont.
  11. Chris Zamrykut, Chris Sklepowich Grade 10 Dauphin Regional Comprehensive Secondary School - Dauphin, Manitoba, Canada
  12. T. Burnie's Grade 7/8 class St Ann School, Toronto, Ontario
  13. The Junior Enhanced Learning Class of Mrs. Marilyn Bruton Ellwood Memorial Public School - Bolton, Ontario (submitted by Don Brown, Principal)
  14. Abby Stimson, Grade 9 Dalhousie Regional High School
  15. RJ Gough, Matt Lindhout Grade 7 Horse Lake Elementary School - 100 Mile House, B.C.
  16. Ryan Cook, Vincent Spano, Evan Powell, Andrew Bain Ms. L. Laudonio's grade 5 class Gregory A. Hogan School - Sarnia, Ontario
  17. William Heppel, Shawn Proctor - Grade 6 St. Joseph School, Huntingdon, Que.
  18. 6D - Ecole St.Avila Winnipeg, MB
  19. John Gamble, Katharine Gasbarini - Grade 8 Mrs. Delorme's class Gregory Hogan School - Sarnia, Ontario
  20. Meagan Edwards, Sosie Beurklian - Mrs. Valenzuela's class Sherwood Secondary School
  21. Kevin Cull, Steven Peckham, Kevin Waterman, Debbie Foley, Grant Wells, Chris Burke, Glen Winsor - Ray Smith and his students Ken Woodward, Hollywood Rd. Middle School, Kelowna, BC
  22. Grade 8 Math Class Hedges School - Winnipeg, Manitoba
  23. Mike Scheiers grade six. Cathcart Public School - Sarnia, Ont
  24. Mr.Burger's Grade 7 class St.Therese school - Sarnia ,Ontario
  25. Nick Jacob 12 yrs. old gr. 7 Sarnia ,Ontario
  26. Shannon Pronk G6 Mcadam Aveune School in - Fredericton ,N.B.
  27. Lisa Ing, Katie Mills, Adam Gaudry, Alida Pokoradi, David McFarland Mr.Czerneda's Grade 6 C.H.Bray School - Ancaster
  28. Gabrielle Kern, Kurtis Nelson, Shannon Trainor, Sara Lavoratore, Paul Murray, Keith Lyon, Sam Villeneuve, Adrienne Donkers, James Timmington Mr. J. Cowley's 6TH Grade class. Sacred Heart Elementary School - Sarnia, Ontario
  29. Andrew Timmers, Peerke Aarts - Mr. Van Lieshout's Grade 7/8 class St. Peter Canisius School - Watford, Ontario.
  30. Daryl Johnson, Danny Weiss in Ms.Robinson's Grade 4/5 Class St.Benedict's School,Sarnia
  31. Ashley Parise, Kristen O'Donnell from Mrs.Hamilton's grade 7-1 class Florenceville middle school. - Florenceville N.B.
  32. Scott Harris, Michael shynkaryk, Grade 7 Camilla School - Riviere Qui Barre, Alberta
  33. Mandy Dizon, Michelle Halsall - Mrs. Quinn-Vaillant's Grade 8 Our Lady of Mercy School - Sarnia, Ont.
  34. Jane Scaplen's grade 6 French Immersion class Sacred Heart Elementary - Mrystown, Newfoundland
  35. Carla Sadler in 8C, Erica Synnott in 9D, Mrs. Bunn (our Kindergarten teacher) and Mr. Korsunsky (junior high language arts and social studies teacher).
  36. Carl, Claira, Kim, Steven - Grade 5 Sheridan Public School - Oakville, Ontario
  37. Diana Picanco, Nicholas Martiniuk Mrs. T. Ridland's students Our Lady of Mercy School, Sarnia
  38. Jason Stein (6W), Ka Ying Ching (8C) - Onward to Excellence Yorkhill Elementary School - Thornhill, Ontario

    And the unspecific

  39. Rudi, Jordan, Erika, Andrew and the rest of Mr. Davis's grade five class.
  40. Jennifer Kerel - grade 9, math (Mrs. Miller's)
  41. Greg Robertson 81, Ryan Neil 81 (Lawrie Key)

Puzzle #15

This week's Question #15 is the following:

What are the next two letters in the sequence?

F, M, A, M, J, ___, ___

Send your response by 8:00 a.m., Friday, December 22nd to:

Andrea Pollock and Alex Nazarov
Royal West Academy, Montreal West, Quebec.

Copyright © 1995 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364

Book Reviews by Author
Book Reviews by Title
Audio/Video/CD-ROM Reviews by Title
Volume 2 Index