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Canadian Railroad Trilogy Hardcover – Sep 18 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 56 pages
  • Publisher: Groundwood Books (Sept. 18 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0888999534
  • ISBN-13: 978-0888999535
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 25.4 x 31.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 703 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #86,786 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Quill & Quire

Gordon Lightfoot wrote one of his best-loved songs,  “Canadian Railroad Trilogy,” in Canada’s centennial year, 1967. Lightfoot’s lyrics celebrate the vision and incredible effort that went into building the Canadian Pacific Railroad. They also celebrate the rugged and splendid terrain through which the railroad passes, and their rhythms suggest the desperation, longing, and exultation experienced by those who laboured on it.

Now Ian Wallace, one of Canada’s foremost picture book artists, has produced illustrations worthy of Lightfoot’s song in their intensity, evocative power, and shifting moods. Working in what is for him a new medium (chalk pastels), and creating scenes ranging from mountain landscapes to dream-like collages to humorous interiors, Wallace adds his own impressions of what the railroad has meant to Canada – including its effect on the First Nations and the heavy death toll among labourers.

In fascinating endnotes, Wallace comments on the symbolism and associations the images contain, such as the inclusion of a young Gordon Lightfoot’s likeness among the navvies singing in their bunkhouse as they’re “livin’ on stew and drinkin’ bad whiskey, / Bendin’ our backs ’til the long day is done.”

While the book’s list of suggested reading is aimed at young people, Wallace’s illustrations and his comments on their creation will appeal to adults as well. Melody line and chords are provided, but this beautiful book will doubtless send readers to YouTube to hear Lightfoot sing the song himself.

Review

...heart-stirring... (Kathleen Robinson Calgary Sun 2010-11-23)

In this marvellous and yes, iconic, book, Wallace succeeds in both honouring Lightfoot's song and replaying it in a most original way. (Susan Perren Globe and Mail 2010-10-16)

Wallace lovingly recreates the country from coast to coast. From sketches of the mountains to the Prairies to the Maritimes, the book could almost be used as a tourist brochure. (Mark Medley National Post 2010-10-08)

...masterful... (Bayviews 2010-12-01)

...certain to inspire discussions between older readers and younger listeners about how Canada came to be. (Brenda Hoerle Guelph Mercury 2010-12-17)

...masterful... (Celia Jackson Bayviews 2010-12-01)

This lavishly illustrated book brings Gordon Lightfoot’s heart-stirring song “Canadian Railroad Trilogy” to readers young and old...Ian Wallace brings to the song visual life with his sweeping landscapes and evocative portrayals of the people who lived the building of the railroad. (Books For Everybody 2010-01-09)

Although some paintings show the railway in detail, it's less a book about railroads than it is about the history and settlement of Canada itself....a huge and unusual project, and Wallace has executed it with admirable care. (Publishers Weekly 2010-10-18)

Highly recommended. (Reesa Cohen CM Magazine 2010-10-08)

Well worthwhile for all Canadian school libraries! (Canadian Teacher Magazine 2010-11-01)

...generate[s] an interesting discussion with young learners about how railroad construction has contributed to economic development through the movement of people, goods, and even information across long distances. (Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children 2011-02-14)

...Ian Wallace...has produced illustrations worthy of Lightfoot's song in their intensity, evocative power, and shifting moods...[a] beautiful book... (Gwyneth Evans Quill and Quire 2010-10-01)

The atmospheric illustrations ... capture not only the workers’ toil but also the splendor of the Canadian landscape and, obliquely, the price the displaced First Nations people paid for steam-train technology. (Kirkus Reviews 2010-10-01)

I don't know of another more skilled Illustrator who could have done justice to these amazing words than award-winning illustrator Ian Wallace. The visuals are just jaw-dropping spectacular!...Highly recommended. (Reesa Cohen CM Magazine 2010-10-08)

This volume would be a perfect addition to a unit on Canadian history or the building of the railway for any age group...Well worthwhile for all Canadian school libraries! (Canadian Teacher Magazine 2010-11-18)

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By mldcos on Feb. 6 2011
Format: Hardcover
Gordon Lightfoot's iconic song illustrated beautifully by well known illustrator, Ian Wallace. Captures Canadian history of the building of the railroad across the country. A book for all ages from children to adults. Children will love and learn with this book. Adults will be entranced to see a favourite song illustrated. Also a great coffee table book. Such a marvellous achievement of the melding of words and art.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book is basically a collection of illustrations to go with the lyrics of the song, and as such I guess it is OK.

I was most disappointed that there wasn't more written content. Other than a line from the lyrics across the bottom of each picture the entire text consists of 2 pages at the back of the book where the author talks about his inspiration for the pictures.

And as for the illustrations, someone once said "I don't know much about art but I know what I like". Well, I don't particularly like these ones. The people are all portrayed with somewhat distorted proportions, a bit too wide for their height and I am sure the author has never looked closely at either a steam locomotive or railroad tracks because they just wouldn't work if they were built the way he shows. I know they are not technical drawings and are only supposed to give an impression of what the lyrics mean to the artist but really, in this day & age with all of the historical images available on the internet without leaving your own home, there is no excuse for not at least getting the basic details correct.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Siedzik on Oct. 23 2010
Format: Hardcover
The book is awesome and my granddaughter loves it! The shipping time, however, was terrible! It took forever. I ordered it from Canada because I wanted my granddaughter to get it before it was released in the U.S. When I look at DHL tracking for the item, the book went all over the United States before it got to my granddaughter's house in New York.
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By goodwill on Nov. 4 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is a beautiful book. Lightfoot's classic song accompanied with superb illustrations. If you care about this country and its history, give it to a child in your life. I gave this book to my 4 year old grandson who is a train enthusiast(Thomas and all that). I read it to him one day after we had gone on a little hike to see crews rebuilding the historic Kinsol Trestle on Vancouver Island. He sat in rapt attention and was very excited when we came to the trestle page. Later he told his mom, "I love this book!"
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
My 18 year old daughter Dec 25 2010
By Michael J. Klementovich - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this for my 18 year old daughter as a Christmas Gift this year and she is quite a fantastic mature girl with an intense like for Gordon Lightfoot as she got hooked from a young age. She is a Animal Sciences major at Cornell University and a fantastic writer. She did a wonderful paper on Wreck Of the Edmund Fitzgerald and got an A- on it. Why do I say all of this????...Because I want you all to know she is one sharp kid. My.... when she opened this book (as I never opened it from its plastic seal when i purchased it) she was overwhelmed by the Chalk Pastel Artwork by Ian Wallace!!!!! This book is full of historical facts and in the back he has minature pics of each of the larger works with explainations of each. Stunning ....Classy...........best gift I could have ever given her!!!!!!!!!
Worth 3X's the asking price. I am going to buy 2 more for my Canadian friends!!!!!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children Feb. 13 2011
By Yana V. Rodgers - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
"Canadian Railroad Trilogy," a song by acclaimed singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot, describes the construction of Canada's transcontinental railroad back in the late 1800s. The song was commissioned by the Canadian Broadcasting Commission for a special broadcast in 1967 commemorating Canada's centennial anniversary. This book uses the lyrics to inspire an artistic display, created with handmade chalk pastels and gray pastel paper, of the motivation behind the railroad, the hard manual labor of the "navvies" who built the track, and the displacement of the Métis and First Nations people from their land.

Unusual in a picture book, the illustrator, Ian Wallace, takes the opportunity to provide the reader with insights into the historical background, symbolism, and vision of each illustration. These notes, together with a brief history of the Canadian Pacific Railway at the end of the book, can help teachers and parents use the verses and artwork to generate an interesting discussion with young learners about how railroad construction has contributed to economic development through the movement of people, goods, and even information across long distances. Equally important is the book's lesson about the high costs not only in financial terms, but also in terms of environmental disruptions, discriminatory treatment of the Chinese workers, and the loss of land for Canada's first people.
Great illustrations for a top hit for Gordon Lightfoot Jan. 7 2014
By Eli H - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This may be more appropriate for Canadians. It was fun to read while playing the recording. Most any age would enjoy but very young would need it read for them.
Great picture book for kids May 23 2011
By A. Kozdron - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Bought this to read to my 3 year old daughter, and she loves it. The pictures and imagery are incredible, but also entertaining enough to keep a toddler hooked. It's a relatively short book to read, with only a couple of sentences on each page.


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