A few months ago I received a bright and shiny edition of Hey Canada!, a quintessentially Canadian travel/adventure book for kids by Vivien Bowers. The premise of the book is that it is a blog written by cousins Alice and Cal as they travel across the country with their grandmother, hitting all the highlights Canada has to offer. The blog format translates only so well onto hard copy but the effect is that Hey Canada! is an incredibly fun and colourful adventure/reference book about Canada and the kids (Alice and Cal) certainly add a personal element.
Boy has recently discovered his daddy’s old comic books and he delighted in “Cal’s Historical U-Turn” comics that appear sporadically throughout the book. When our copy first arrived we immediately flipped through to Nova Scotia (of course) and then the scattered provinces that are home to family. I like the “reference” quality of Hey Canada!, the index and plethora of information is fantastic and came in handy when Miss N asked “What’s a Manitoba?” the other day. Hey Canada! is not just a reference book filled with history and facts, though I have referred to it as such. It’s also an adventure book as the kids and Grandma keep losing Cal’s stowaway hamster and the cousins get into the usual kid-type shenanigans. The conversational tone lends itself really well to reading a chapter a day, each devoted to a province or territory, over the course of a week or two. Both Cal and Alice are well-drawn characters full of personality and this comes through with the various “tweets” from Cal, his comics and Alice’s narration.
There is a really good mix of illustrations by Milan Pavlovic as well as bright photographs, some of which are instantly recognizable, such as the vivid Newfoundland jellybean houses set against the grey sky and Sudbury’s Big Nickel (which I saw on a road trip with my mom and brother when I was a child!). Hey Canada! is a new way of exploring Canada on paper, it stirred memories for me and my kids were able to form connections to their country. The book would make a great addition to any classroom or home (I know a certain teacher who will be getting my copy).
Many, many thanks to Tundra Books for allowing me to participate in the blog tour (blogs acros Canada are taking part!). For a complete list of all the blogs taking part in the tour up until the big day on Sunday, go here. Also! There is a giveaway contest over at Goodreads that you should really check out! The contest ends in two days so in the words of Boy, “scoot, scoot skedaddle” over there and win yourself a copy.