Carson Crosses Canada by L. Bailey
Bailey, Linda. Carson Crosses Canada. Illustrated by Kass Reich. Tundra Books of Random House Canada, 2017.
In this delightful picture book, Linda Bailey and Kass Reich combine their talents to produce an imaginary cross-Canada tour for little listeners and beginning readers. The work is age appropriate. The maps Reich creates on the front and back end papers present a simplified vision of our coastlines, territories and provinces. Throughout the pages, line drawings and colourful illustrations evoke our mountains, forests, plains and lakes. We see Canada from the highway, the campsite, the lakeshore and seacoast. Urban references are few. The journey starts in Tofino; it ends on an unnamed Newfoundland shore. En route, there is one nod to Winnipeg where the travelers have a cooling romp in the lake of the same name, and another to Quebec City where they feast on a tortière. For the most part, however, the densely populated cities, our usual obsession, are omitted. What the author and illustrator do offer is a heartwarming, humorous and engaging story.
Annie Magruder, the central character, journeys eastward to help her ailing sister, Elsie, who lives on the Atlantic coast. Promising Carson, her little dog, a “surprise” when they reach their destination, Annie packs the essentials: camping equipment, baloney sandwiches, dog food, and “Squeaky Chicken” (Squeaky Chicken is the dog’s toy; each time he chews it he gets “a brand new noise”). Carson is both lovable and credible. On the dry plains of Saskatchewan he eats a grasshopper “for dessert.” In the scorching heat of southern Manitoba he droops. In Niagara Falls where Annie buys a souvenir he “leaves a little souvenir of his own,” and when the tide goes out in the Bay of Fundy, he rolls all over the seabed, the “best mud ever.” Annie’s promised “surprise” for Carson is also credible. (No disclosure, here. Read the book.)
Kass Reich’s illustrations are a perfect match for Bailey’s text. That the work concentrates on storyline is a gift to the intended audience. That its inherent geography lesson is subtle and evocative (as opposed to blatant and didactic) is totally refreshing. This is a must for Canadian home, school, and public libraries.
Reviewer: Leslie Aitken
Highly recommended 4 out of 4 stars
Leslie Aitken’s long career in librarianship involved selection of children’s literature for school, public, special, and university collections. She is a former Curriculum Librarian at the University of Alberta.
How to Cite
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).