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Book Reviews in April 2002 Issue

Note from Editor
Editor's Note
by Olga Stein
I love coincidences, the unpremeditated recurrence of themes and ideas in reviews of otherwise very different books, and references to literary figures appearing unexpectedly in unrelated contexts. The density of these coincidences in a book review publication is perhaps more than anything the mark of a mature intellectual and literary culture.
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Hateship, Friendship, Courtship,Loveship, Marriage
by Alice Munro

McClelland & Stewart
322 pages $34.99 cloth
ISBN: 0143012312
Book Review
Munrogue's Progress
by Michael Greenstein
"Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage" is the first story in Alice Munro's latest collection of short stories under the same title. To this unusual list of "ships", one would have to add worship, for the reader comes to and away from Munro's fiction with adulation. A Munro story is layered in time, place, and personality; it approaches novella status, a truncated version of a great Canadian novel.
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North of the Equator
by Cyril Dabydeen

Beach Holme Publishing
138 pages $18.95 paper
ISBN: 0888784236
Book Review
Steamy Conversations
by Heather Birrell
The title story of Ottawa writer Cyril Dabydeen's seventh collection of short fiction, North of the Equator, is set in the sauna of an Ottawa health clubłand rarely has such a seemingly banal setting proven so rich in metaphorical possibility. The narrator of the story, Ravidar, has somewhat ambivalently engaged in a conversation with his fellow sauna-sitter, a French Canadian woman named Monique, and their small talk becomes the impetus for Ravi's reflections on place and belonging.
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Letters to a Young Contrarian
by Christopher Hitchens

Basic Books
141 pages $32.95 cloth
ISBN: 0465030327
Book Review
Very Heavy Advice
by Matt Sturrock
On the cover of Christopher Hitchens' latest book, Letters to a Young Contrarian, is the man himselfłwho, besides exuding some highly stylized menace, also looks a little weary. One can hardly fault him. Hitchens has been fighting a hard and lonely battle for a long time against intransigent opponents.
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How Should I Read These?: Native Women Writers in Canada
by Helen Hoy

University of Toronto Press
264 pages $24.95 paper
ISBN: 080208401X
Book Review
Learning to Read, Otherwise
by Cynthia Sugars
"Because you sleep does not mean you see into my dreams," wrote Sherman Alexie in his poem, "Introduction to Native American Literature". Alexie's observation, written in the early 1990s, is perhaps one of the more poignant expressions of what came to be known as the "appropriation of voice" debate that took over literary discussions in Canada in the late 1980s and early 90s.
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Ahtahkakoop: The Epic Account of a Plains Cree Head Chief, His People, and Their Struggle for Survival, 1816-1896
by Deanna Christensen

Ahtahkakoop Publishing
844 pages $49.95 cloth
ISBN: 0968736904
Book Review
How to write for the Other?
by Heather Hodgson
Sandy Lake is a First Nation community situated deep in the rolling, rugged hills of north central Saskatchewan. The pines and bush are so dense there you can almost forget what a farmer's field looks like. The signature call of loons permeates the air over the lake and at night the coyotes howl, sounding frighteningly close. The sky is often so black you can't see your hand in front of you. On other nights the stars and northern lights pulse with life.
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Robert Creeley: A Biography
by Ekbert Faas, Maria Trombacco

McGill-Queen's University Press
513 pages $35 cloth
ISBN: 0773521739
Book Review
Rimbaud-Type Monstrocity
by Eric Miller
Writing recently of Arthur Rimbaud in The New Criterion, Eric Ormsby drolly endorsed the following admission by Rimbaud's biographer Graham Robb: "While the readers of poFtes maudits often identify with the poets themselves, critics and biographers tend to identify with the parents." It is Rimbaud's evident sadism, as well as his attitudinizing, that especially motivate Ormsby's revulsion from the poet.
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Ten Good Seconds of Silence
by Elizabeth Ruth

The Dundurn Group
415 pages $19.99 paper
ISBN: 0889243018
Book Review
Revising a Life Story
by Janine Flaccavento
Our memories shape who we are. But what happens to our identity when we decide to forget certain things, when we purposefully dispose of memories and replace them with others? If we believe in and live this revised life story, than who is to say that it is not the history of our true self? These are the roots of Elizabeth Ruth's first novel, Ten Good Seconds of Silence.
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Gambler's Fallacy
by Judith Cowan

Porcupine's Quill 2001
197 pages $19.95 paper
ISBN: 0889842256
Book Review
Extending a Precedent
by Chris Jennings
The novel dogs short fiction. Comparisons between stories and novels inevitably privilege the latter and judge the former on their authors' ability to accommodate some aesthetic or cognitive failing that keeps them from rising to the challenge of the ęhigher' form. Even Alice Munro still suffers the carping implications of those who measure her short fiction against the foreign standard of the novel
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Exotic Dancers
by Gerald Lynch

Cormorant
345 pages $31.95 cloth
ISBN: 1896951325
Book Review
Lives of Quiet Desperation
by Paul Keen
What is said of poets, is also true of many novelists: they give to airy nothings a local habitation and a name. Gerald Lynch's latest novel, Exotic Dancers, is set in Troutstream, the mythical Ottawa suburb that provided both the local habitation and the name for Lynch's 1996 novel, Troutstream. As the euphemism that supplies the title for this book would suggest, there's nothing very exotic about Troutstream.
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Shadow-Box
by Antonia Logue

McClelland & Stewart
308 pages $17.99 paper
ISBN: 0771053533
Book Review
A Boxer, a Scoundrel, and a Poet
by Kaie Kellough
Shadow-Box, winner of the Irish Times Literature Prize for Fiction, is Antonia Logue's debut novel. Shadow Box weaves together the lives of heavyweight champion Jack Johnson, modernist poet Mina Loy, and dilettante (con-man, art critic, boxer, poet) Arthur Cravan during the first half of the 20th century. This heady blend of adventure, romance, boxing tale, and memoir, takes the reader through Europe, the United States, and Latin America.
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On Equilibrium
by John Ralston Saul

Penguin/Viking
370 pages $35 cloth
ISBN: 0670888826
Book Review
Life with an Inflatable Doll
by Frank Smith
Socrates famously asserted that the unexamined life is not worth living. But few contemporary philosophers show much interest in examining what makes us human. There is much more concern with the moist mass of neural interconnections in our heads or with the interplay of independent systems that constitute our bodies, from which consciousness and all the feelings that go with it might arise as ineffectual byproducts. John Ralston Saul is an exception.
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A Disciplined Intelligence: Critical Inquiry and Canadian Thought in the Victorian Era
by A. B. McKillop

McGill-Queen's University Press
291 pages $27.95 paper
ISBN: 0773521429
Canadian Intellectuals, the Tory Tradition and the Challenge of Modernity, 1939-1970
by Philip Massolin

University of Toronto Press
357 pages $60 cloth
ISBN: 0802035094
Book Review
Remembrance of Thoughts Past
by John Pepall
Intellectual history demands a precise grasp of the ideas being studies and their development, as well as a judicious assessment of the extent to which they reflected or influenced their times. A clear focus is essential or intellectual history becomes a blur. Ideas can have a history of their own. The deepest and most important thinking may be eccentric and marginal in its time. Its influence may come generations later.
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Letters to a Young Lawyer
by Alan Dershowitz

Basic Books
206 pages $32.95 cloth
ISBN: 0465016316
Book Review
And Now Advice from a Lawyer
by Martin Halpern
This above all: to thine own self be true; And it must follow as the night the day Thou canst not then be false to any man Hamlet, Act 1, Scene III From Cicero to Carnegie, the greats and not-so-greats love to dispense advice. And advice comes in many forms. Lawyers dish it out in spades.
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Jane Austen
by Carol Shields

Penguin Life Lipper/Viking
185 pages $28.99 cloth
ISBN: 0670894885
Book Review
The Life of Jane Austen
by Cindy MacKenzie
Consistently praised for his "inspired pairing of author and subject" James Atlas, editor of the acclaimed Penguin Lives Series, made one of his best matches when he paired Carol Shields with Jane Austen.
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Damned Women: Lesbians in French Novels, 1796-1996.
by Jennifer Waelti-Walters

McGill-Queen's Press
288 pages $24.95 paper
ISBN: 0773521100
Book Review
Charmeuses des femmes
by Julia Creet
Jennifer Waelti-Walters's exhaustive study of the lesbian figure in French Literature from her first appearance in the 18th Century is an important, but unfortunately heavy-handed contribution to the fields of queer studies and French literature.
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Auden's Games of Knowledge: Poetry and the Meanings of Homosexuality
by Richard R. Bozorth

Columbia University Press
342 pages $19.5 paper
ISBN: 0231113528
Book Review
Allusions to Another World
by William H. Ford
"Why read [W.H.] Auden as a homosexual poet?" asks Richard R. Bozorth in this ground-breaking new study, identified on its back cover as the "first full-length consideration" of the poet in terms of his sexual orientation.
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Damned Women: Lesbians in French Novels, 1796-1996.
by Jennifer Waelti-Walters

McGill-Queen's Press
288 pages $24.95 paper
ISBN: 0773521100
Book Review
Northrop Frye's Diaries: The Body and the Spirit
by Nella Cotrupi
With the first time publication in 2001 of The Diaries of Northrop Frye, 1942 ū 1955, readers are given a rare opportunity to share the private reflections of a major player in the world of 20th century culture, literature and criticism.
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New and Collected Poems (1930 ū 2001)
by Czeslaw Milosz

HarperCollins
776 pages $59.95 paper
ISBN: 006019667X
To Begin Where I Am: Selected Essays
by Czeslaw Milosz. Edited by Bogdana Carpenter and Madeline G. Levine

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
462 pages $47 paper
ISBN: 0374258902
Book Review
Milosz at Ninetyłon aesthetics and ethics
by Kenneth Sherman
Several years ago, on a train that took me through a bleak late-autumn landscape, I read Czeslaw Milosz's Visions From San Francisco Bay. I already knew Milosz's trenchant poetry but this was my first encounter with the steady and somber voice of his lucid prose. Visions was written in the late 1960s, when the works of Herbert Marcuse were popular on university campuses across North America.
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Sharon Pollock: Essays on His Works
by Edited by Anne F. Nothof

Guernica, Writers Series 1
192 pages $12 paper
ISBN: 1550711083
Caterina Edwards: Essays on His Works
by Edited by Joseph Pivato

Guernica, Writers Series 2
127 pages $10 paper
ISBN: 1550711148
Louis Dudek: Essays on His Works
by Edited by George Hildebrand

Guernica, Writers Series 3
133 pages $10 paper
ISBN: 1550711210
David Solway: Essays on His Works
by Edited by Carmine Starnino

Guernica, Writers Series 4
163 pages $10 paper
ISBN: 1550711326
Aritha van Herk: Essays on His Works
by Edited by Christl Verduyn

Guernica, Writers Series 5
126 pages $10 paper
ISBN: 1550711334
P. K. Page: Essays on His Works
by Edited by Linda Rogers and Barbara Colebrook Peace

Guernica, Writers Series 6
173 pages $10 paper
ISBN: 1550711342
Adele Wiseman Essays on His Works
by Edited by Ruth Panofsky

Guernica, Writers Series 7
170 pages $10 paper
ISBN: 1550711350
Alistair MacLeod: Essays on His Works
by Edited by Irene Guildford

Guernica, Writers Series 8
130 pages $10 paper
ISBN: 1550711377
Book Review
Adventures in Editing. Writers Series from Guernica
by Robert Moore
In 2001, with Sharon Pollock: Essays on Her Works (edited by Anne E. Nothof), Guernica launched the first title in its Writers Series. The number of titles has since grown to eight to include works on Caterina Edwards (Joseph Pivato), Louis Dudek (George Hildebrand), David Solway (Carmine Starnino), Aritha van Herk (Christl Verduyn) , P.K. Page (Linda Rogers and Barbara Colebrook Peace), Adele Wiseman (Ruth Panofsky), and Alistair MacLeod (Irene Guilford).
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Sparrow Nights
by David Gilmour

Random House
215 pages $32.95 hard cover
ISBN: 0679311122
Book Review
A Dark Play on Chekhov
by Malca Litovitz
The title of David Gilmour's fifth novel comes from Chekhov's "sparrow nights". These are harrowing nights of the soul when love is lost. The book takes its epigraph from a letter that Marcel Proust wrote to a friend: "I cannot get used to things that end". Darius Halloway, the fifty-one-year-old French professor who is the central protagonist of the novel, has experienced many failures and endings.
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Sweeter Than All the World
by Rudy Wiebe

Knopf Canada
438 pages $35.95 cloth
ISBN: 067697340X
Book Review
History as a Continuum
by Kerry Riley
Adam Wiebe, the central protagonist in Canadian writer Rudy Wiebe's wonderful new novel, Sweeter Than All the World, is a man whose past is catching up with him, both literally and figuratively.
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Interviews
An Interview with Matthew Sweeney Between Alternative Realism and European Darkness
by Richard Marshell
Matthew Sweeney was born in Co Donegal in 1952. His poetry collections include Blue Shoes (Secker & Warburg, 1989); Cacti (Secker & Warburg, 1989); The Bridal Suite (London, Jonathan Cape, 1997); and A Smell of Fish (Jonathan Cape, 2000). A selection of his work appears in Penguin Modern Poets 12 (London, Penguin, 1997). He is the co-author with John Hartley Williams of Writing Poetry (London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1997).
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Essays
A Victory for Sanity and Civil Order A Poet's Encounter with Some Polite People at the LCP
by Joe Rosenblatt
In the fall of 1999 I presented a paper called The Lunatic Muse: The Mythopoetic in Canadian Poetry at a three day conference (Sept. 8 ū11) celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Associazione Italiana Di Studi Canadesi (Italian Association for Canadian Studies) at the University of Bologna . The theme of the conference was Canada, The Cultures of Globalization. Encouraged by the reception of my presentation, I decided to expand on the topic of lunacy in Canadian poetry for a book.
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Prose/Poetry
Peter van Toorn riggin dat slapstuff
by David Solway
Peter Van Toorn's Mountain Tea, which appeared in 1984 (he has published nothing since) is one of those books to which the epithet sui generis needs to be applied, for it can be compared to nothing else but what is similarly incomparablełthis is to say, books without precedent or sequel, too individual, too much themselves, to beget succession (like Smart's Jubilate Agno, for example) yet seeding the imagination with possibility and a sense of lexical euphoria. In Canada I think of A.M.
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Prose/Poetry
Chapbooks Fill the Breach
by Erling Friis-Baastad
The chapbook, a thin, stapled-together and sometimes home-made pamphlet, is coming into its own again. For this generation of poets the publishing vehicle may well be the equivalent of the mimeographed magazine of the 1950s and '60s, and for much the same reason: economy. The chapbook has answered that call before.
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Prose/Poetry
Poetry
Moving Constant is the graveyard slanting up behind the house in a wash of sunlight or in winds that lash this coast where spruce bend, lose branches, remain. Father had no words at the airport but when we moved to the brim of this country I saw his tears in sea water splaying down the crevices of cliffs. From Greenland icebergs travel to dissolve here; their centuries' wisdom is salt I lick from my lip in a fog.
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Prose/Poetry
Stealing Time from Sleep with Peter van Toorn
by Stephen Brockwell
An him go foh goofy babes, buff jobs, strappin' straw saunabone blondies "In Guildenstern County" In a poem it boasts all colours of the sun. Like a bronze pope, it salutes no one. "Rune" The classroom windows of Laird Hall overlook the enormous campus green of John Abbott College where for thirty years students have sprawled on the grass in the late August sun to perpetuate summer.
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Opinion
Michael Taube
The English philosopher Sir Francis Bacon wrote the following passage in his book, The Essays (1625), "Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested; that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read, but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention." Bacon's statement can also be applied to authors, some of which are challenging while others are simply challenged.
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The Ash Garden
by Dennis Bock

Harper Flamingo Canada
281 pages $34 paper
ISBN: 0002255243
Bitten
by Kelley Armstrong

Random House
342 pages $34.95 paper
ISBN: 0679310614
Beatrice
by Monica Kidd

Turnstone Press
210 pages $18.95 paper
ISBN: 0888012659
Hail Mary Corner
by Brian Payton

Beach Holme Press
209 pages $18.95 paper
ISBN: 0888784428
The title, Plenty of Harm in God
by Dana Bath

DC Books
215 pages paper
ISBN: 0919688780
Where She Was Standing
by Maggie Helwig

ECW Press
266 pages $19.95 paper
ISBN: 1550224786
Last Summer at Barebones
by Diane Baker Mason

McArthur & Company
448 pages $24.95 paper
ISBN: 1552782395
Tip of the Halo
by R. F. Darion

NeWest Press
249 pages $9.95 paper
ISBN: 1896300391
First Novels
First Novels
by W.P Kinsella
Every once in a while a novel splashes to the surface of the slush pile like a big orange koi in a pool of minnows. Such a novel is Ten Good Seconds of Silence by Elizabeth Ruth (Dundurn, 414pgs, $19.99, ISBN: 0889243018), a sterling tale of a mother and daughter trying desperately to understand each other. As a teenager Lilith Boot had visions interpreted by her parents as hallucinations, and they committed her to a mental hospital.
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The Beautiful Dead End
by Clint Hutzulak

Anvil Press
202 pages $14.95
ISBN: 1895636396
Brief Reviews
Brief Reviews
by Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer
Fiction Step into Clint Hutzulak's sepulchral world. The Beautiful Dead End (Anvil press, 202 pages, $14.95 paper, ISBN: 1895636396) is a place of necrophilia, jealous murder, hard drinking, hard using, loveless sex, suicide and disappearance. Everything about this book is falling awayłthe plot, the prose, the characters, the landscape. It is all in the state of ghostly transference.
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Pack Up the Moon
by Richard Teleky

Thomas Allen Publishers
286 pages $31.95 cloth
ISBN: 0919028462
Brief Reviews
Brief Reviews
by John Sinopoli
Fiction Right from the start of Pack Up the Moon by Richard Teleky (Thomas Allen Publishers, $31.95, 286 pages, cloth, ISBN: 0909028462) you know this is not going to be a happy book. Richard Teleky's sophomore effort mentions two deaths on the first pagełthose of Karl Marton's (the protagonist) ex-lover and his bestfriend's son. Things don't get much better when shortly thereafter Karl learns that his bestfriend from UniversityłCharlotte Fleuryłwas murdered nearly twenty years earlier.
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A.M. Klein: Poet and Prophet
by Edward Baxter

XYZ Publishing
133 pages $15.95 paper
ISBN: 0968816665
Brief Reviews
Brief Reviews
by Michael Greenstein
Biography Nanm Kattan's biography of A.M. Klein, Poet and Prophet, first appeared in French in 1994 and has now been translated into English by Edward Baxter (XYZ Publishing, $15.95, 133, pages, paper, ISBN: 0968816665). Kattan's name means "small" in Hebrew, while Klein means the same in Yiddish, so it is fitting that both authors appear side by side in this slim monograph, even though both have had prolific careers.
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Long Drums and Cannons: Nigerian Dramatists and Novelists, 1952-1966 edited with an Introduction by Nora Foster Stovel
by Margaret Laurence

The University of Alberta Press
270 pages $29.95 paper
ISBN: 0888643322
Brief Reviews
Brief Reviews
by Raj Mehta
African Postcolonial Margaret Laurence lived in the British Protectorate of Somalia and the Gold Coast (Ghana) in the 1950s. Already during this time, she worked on Somali translations of folktales and poetry for A Tree for Poverty, which became her first published book in 1954. She also engaged her African interests in a series of short stories that were compiled in 1963 in The Tomorrow Tamer and began work on her novel This Side Jordan (1960)
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Giovanni Boccaccio: Famous Women
by edited and translated by Virginia Brown

Harvard University Press
529 pages $29.95 cloth
ISBN: 0674003470
Brief Reviews
Brief Reviews
by Clara Thomas
Historical Biography Some years after he wrote The Decameron, the group of tales that is his major work, Giovanni Boccaccio compiled this collection of 124 essays on women. It is considered the first grouping of women's biographies in Western literature. In his Preface, he claims that the compilation was undertaken as a balance to Petrarch's Lives of Famous Men and announces his decision to include the stories of women renowned for any sort of great deed.
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Children's Books
Children's Books
by Jeffrey Canton
April is the month for books in Canadałit's National Poetry Month, Canada Book Day and International Children's Book Day.
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Nothing Beats a Pizza
by written and illustrated by Loris Lesynski

Annick Press
32 pages $6.95 paper
ISBN: 1550377000
Nothing Beats a Pizza
by written and illustrated by Loris Lesynski

Annick Press
32 pages $18.95 cloth
ISBN: 1550377019
Children's Books
Children's Books
by Mary Anne Cree
What can you do if your friends have all gone off to play without you? Don't despair! Loris Lesynski's new book of poetry, Nothing Beats a Pizza, has all kind of fun things to do by yourself or with a group. Once again, Lesynski gives us a clever, laugh-out-loud collection of poetry, complete with humorous and wacky illustrations. Lesynski is a master at making poetry come alive. On the title page, she encourages kids to dive into the book. "Oh no, POEMS!!!" screeches a child. "Wait a minute
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Capturing Joy: The Story of Maud Lewis Illustrated by Mark Lang
by Jo-Ellen Bogart

Tundra Books $19.99 Cloth
ISBN: 0887765688
The Art Room Illustrated by Pascal Milelli
by Susan Vande Griek

Groundwood Books $15.95 Cloth
ISBN: 0888994494
Children's Books
Children's Books
by Deborah Wandell
Two important Canadian women artists make appearances in children's books this spring: Capturing Joy, the Story of Maud Lewis by Jo-Ellen Bogart, is a rather earnest biography, suitable for readers ages 7-11, but its generous collection of gorgeous full-page folk paintings by Lewis is a treasure for all ages. Working chronologically, Bogart describes important events and treasured moments in Maud Lewis's life, and places them in the different landscapes that Maud called home.
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Children's Books
Children's Books
by Jeffrey Canton
The Books In Canada List of Favorite Children's Classics The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame Simon and Schuster,$24.95 Cloth,0684179571 A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett Aladdin,$5.50 Paperback,0689844077 The Story of Little Babaji by Helen Bannerman HarperCollins,$23.99 Cloth,0062050648 The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett HarperCollins,$18.50 Cloth,0060278536 To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee Warner Brothers,$9.
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