Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Pioneer ABC

Downie, Mary Alice. 2005. A Pioneer ABC.

Several things make this book an interesting choice. First, it's Canadian. The "pioneers" in reference here are Canadian pioneers. Settlers who were loyal to Britain during the American Revolution. Settlers who chose to move to Canada after the war instead of remaining in the United States under the new government. Second, there are a few details about this book that make it more nonfiction or informational. I loved the detail given in the back matter. This back matter is almost like a glossary--in a way--providing more details on the items (alphabetical) in the story. For example, we learn that bandalore (one of the B's) is another word for yo-yo. " the old name for "yo-yo," which was invented over two thousand years ago, possibly in Ancient Greece. Yo-yos have been made of terra-cotta, silver, gold, horn, and wood. In the past, adults liked to play with them too. In 1985, a yellow plastic yo-yo was taken up in the Space Shuttle Discovery as part of an experiment with "Toys in Space."" See there are hidden I-didn't-know-that facts to discover!

The book is straightforward. "A is for Abigail and Anna, my two sisters. Even though they are awful, I'm making them an alphabet book." Each letter is presented and several examples are used within the narrative sentence.

The book is also beautifully and intricately illustrated by Mary Jane Gerber. The illustrations have an old-fashioned, traditional feel about them (though they are color).

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

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