Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hey Canada! Blog Tour and Review

Today I'm so excited to be part of the Hey Canada! blog tour.

As part of the tour I've decided to share with you my own Hey Canada! story and then to do a quick review afterwards.

This is a book that I could really relate to. My parents have always been huge fans of road trips, vacation getaways, and tourist hot spots. They also were not huge fans of taking a plane (it was often much cheaper, and hey, who was  I to complain? Those airplanes hurt my ears so much I could barely stomach the pain.) So as a child you can imagine, I had the opportunity to see many things.

At the time we lived in Winnipeg, Manitoba which as you may guess is situated geographically just about right smack in the middle of Canada. We went on vaction every year to places like Gimli, Hecla Island, and Grand Beach. They took us to places in the city like china town, Lower Fort Gary (le voyagers anyone?), The Forks,  and all the museums they could find that would interest me and my sister. Manitoba was my world and it was an amazing place to be.

Gimli, Manitoba

Hecla Island and Riverton, Manitoba

Then one day my parents announced to us that we were going on a trip to the Okanagon River in British Columba. And that we are driving there in the car. In the car! Across half the country! At the time that seemed like a world away to me. My only real perspective, that we were going to take at least a week to get to our destination.

On the road to British Colombia: A giant aboriginal head, The Husky Tower, a giant metal T.P., and an enchanted forest

The Rocky Mountains

But it was a trip that forever opened up my eyes to the beauty of our country. We took our time, stopping at roadside tourist attractions and visiting places like the Husky Tower in Calgary and going up a ski lift in the mountains. It was the trip of a lifetime!

When I was older we moved to Ontario and a whole other world opened up to me. I remember the first year we moved there we drove from Brampton to Toronto many times to see the attractions there. CN Tower, Casa Loma, The ROM, Ontario Science Center, Canada's Wonderland, The Toronto Zoo...anything was fair game.

Casa Loma and the CN Tower

Then a few years later we were moving on to visit places like Niagara Falls, Kitchener (where I live now!), the Thousand Islands, and Ottawa.

Niagara Falls, Ontario

Ottawa, Ontario

 One year we even took the plunge and went east...to Montreal, even ending up a restaurant where the chef had to take our order because he was the only staff member who spoke English there...what an adventure!

Montreal, Quebec

I never did end up going east, past Montreal but I'd love to one day see the other side of our country :)

It was an incredibly rich experience as I child, I could never guess at the time, but in hind sight I was incredibly blessed to have parents that took us out into the world and showed us places like these, all across the country. I know I wouldn't have been the same without it. It really made me appreciate the country I live in and embrace any differences we may have from province to province.

I still do go to tourist attractions around where I live and visit places like Algonquin Park, Toronto, Niagara Falls, and London. I visit touristy places in town and go to the theater. And each time I still feel the magic of discovery that I did when I was a child.

Seeing books like Hey Canada! come out for children to experience even a taste of these things and learn all about the different places, even some silly little tourist attractions, makes me happy. Even if they don't have parents like I did who travel all across the country, well...they can still experience that through the eyes of Cal and Alice. And even if they do...that would be a great book to read through on the trip.


Publishing Information:

Title - Hey Canada!
Author - Vivien Bowers
Illustrator - Milan Pavlovic
Publisher - Tundra Books
Date Published -  2012

# of pages - 72


Gran has decided that she is taking nine-year-old Alice and eight-year-old Cal on a road trip across Canada “before she’s old and creaky.” With a sparkling combination of poems, silly songs, tweets and blogs, the trio records the trip for readers everywhere to share. Starting in St. John’s Newfoundland, where they have a “find-it” list that includes a moose and an iceberg and going all the way to the Pacific Ocean, the gang in Hey Canada! offers a delightful way to learn about vast, varied, and surprising Canada.

The book combines narrative, poems, photos, comics about historical events such as the battle at Fortress Louisburg, maps (including provincial flags, birds, and flowers), in a lively, easily accessible format. Not only great fun to read, this is a valuable resource for young Canadians and for visitors across the country.

I really appreciated many things about this book. Having fictional characters like Cal and Alice take their own road trip and explaining things about each of the places they visit was genius. It made the information more interesting, sometimes even laugh out loud funny as they threw their own perspectives about what they were seeing into their descriptions.

The cartoons were a nice touch, even inserting them into photographs, proving they had been to these places. I also liked the comic strips at the end of each chapter, explaining some of the history of each of the provinces and territories. Cal takes his pet hampster along with them on the road trip and at one point it gets out of the cage and they can't it find it for days. From then on they have "Hamspter Updates". It's touches like these that make the book so special and stand out from other children's books about Canada.

I would have absolutely loved to have a book like this when I was younger to take with me on my road trips. In fact, I may just take it with me on my next road trip anyways.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

You can buy Hey Canada! from Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, and Chapters.
You can check out more reviews or add it to your Goodreads list.
Want to read more posts in the Hey Canada! Blog Tour?


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