Monday, May 30, 2016

Northwest Passage and Canadian Railroad Trilogy

It's been a while since I've reviewed children's books, so today I thought I'd give you two. They are titled Northwest Passage and Canadian Railroad Trilogy, and both are published by Groundwood Books.

Northwest Passage is a 12 x 9 hardcover children's book that is illustrated by Matt James. Mr. James drew his inspiration for his book from the song "Northwest Passage," written by Canadian singer Stan Rogers. The song tells the story of Mr. Rogers longing to take the Northwest Passage (a route that started in Canada's section of the Arctic Ocean, went through the Pacific Ocean and ended in Asia). This was apparently a perilous journey that many men search and died for until it was finally completed in 1906 by Roald Amundsen. In this book we see Rogers driving a bus around and reflecting on his life and comparing it to the men who sought this passage before him. The illustration style in the book is not necessarily my favorite as it comes off a bit juvenile at times. The main flow of the book is also interrupted several times to give pages of background/history in tiny font. At the end of the book is Rogers song set to verse and a gallery of the Passage explorers, which I found most interesting of all. It's a clever book, but unless you are familiar with the song or the importance of the Northwest Passage, this book probably isn't for you.

Canadian Railroad Trilogy is a 12 x 9 hardcover children's book that is illustrated by Ian Wallace. The book and art in it is inspired by Gordon Lightfoot's song with the same name as the book title. The song itself was commissioned in 1967 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Canada. The song describes how the Canadian Pacific Railroad was built. Each page is fully and lavishly illustrated with images that bring the song to life. The book does not censor the song, as it talks about drinking whiskey and pays mention to those who passed away building this railroad. At the end of the book is the song's sheet music and a small thumbnail of each image with a description of the significance of each image written by Mr. Wallace. As someone who loves trains and utilizes them everyday in my job, I found this book a joy to read and it is one I will share with my son in a few years when he gets just a little bit older!

These books were provided to me for free by Groundwood Books in exchange for honest reviews.