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on August 24, 2009
On first glance I was thrilled when this book arrived. The illustrations are beautiful, and it is full of wonderful Canadian information. However, "L is for Louisburg" found on "New Brunswick's Cape Breton Island" was a HUGE disappointment, and is utterly incorrect. Being from Nova Scotia, where Cape Breton is actually located, this turned me off of this book. With such a glaring mistake, who knows what other information is incorrect. I want my children to be accurately informed about their country. For this reason, I would not recommend this book.
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on August 27, 2002
Some of the letters in Ulmer and Rose's A-B-C of Canada are ones you'd expect: "T" is for Toronto, "Q" is for Quebec, and, of course, given the title, "M" is for Maple. While those few are expected, some of what Ulmer and Rose chose to exhibit for this distinctly Canadian A-B-C shows a delicate and wonderful understanding of both the child and adult audience of this book.

From Banting and Best, who gave the world Insulin, to Anne of Green Gables, to Terry Fox, and to - of all things - the Zipper, there are at least 26 nuggets of Canadian Heritage and History here that are presented in an accessible format for kids and adults alike.

Moreover, each page is not just the rhyming quartet for each letter - there is also a sidebar with a few paragraphs or so on the topic, or on other letter related topics. (E, which is for "Eh?" also contains a little write-up in the sidebar on Edmonton, for example. G stands both for Grain and the Governor General.)

The illustrations are beautiful - seeing the artistry of Terry Fox literally stopped me in my tracks. I remember seeing him run by when I was young, and the picture was a perfect capture of that moment.

The perfect Canadian kids book gift, for those relatives overseas, or for those who've been in Canada all their lives, "M is for Maple" has real information, lyrical rhymes, and great artistry. It belongs on any Canadian Youth's shelf, and has certainly found a place on my nephew's.
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on August 19, 2005
"M is for Maple: A Canadian Alphabet" is a marvellous find. Whether you are a geography buff, full of Canadian pride, or someone who just loves to look at beautiful things, this is the book for you!
Mike Ulmer's rhyme scheme is a pleasure to read silently or aloud. His choices for each letter are fitting for Canada and represent all regions and citizens. The thing I liked most about his choices is that they are unpredictable, unlike a lot of other books of this genre.
Paired up with Melanie Rose's awe-inspiring illustrations, Ulmer's writing cannot go wrong. Rose captures Canada's positive aspects in warm colours, soft lines, and heart-warming depictions.
Lastly, the side captions outlining additional information on the featured item or offering a second feature is a great way to educate readers while keeping the same light-hearted tone.
This book is an all-around winner in my mind.
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on September 3, 2001
This book is not only beautifully illustrated, but it provides a wonderful history lesson as well! Two perfect examples are B is for Frederick Banting, the man who discovered insulin, and F is for Terry Fox, a brave man who suffered from cancer and ran across Canada to raise money for cancer research. What a wonderful way for Canadian children to learn about their history. I highly recommend this book.
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on August 26, 2009
The alphabet book has nearly become a genre of its own within the world of children's literature. With every child's bookshelf containing one or two alphabet books that proclaim, 'A is for Apple, B is for Banana' or alternately, 'A is for Ant, B is for Bear,' it's easy to see how the elegant and informative alphabet titles from Sleeping Bear Press are redefining the genre.

M is for Maple: A Canadian Alphabet by Mike Ulmer is quickly becoming the quintessential Canadian version of the alphabet book. Illustrated in rich, glowing oils by accomplished artist Melanie Rose, and covering a broad range of topics that are woven deeply throughout the culture of Canada, this beautiful book is both appealing and useful in a wide variety of age groups and settings.

Each letter of the alphabet is introduced through rhyming text that draws out one symbol, historical personage, location, people group, sport, and so on, that helps to capture the spirit of Canada as a whole.

So instead of a simple, 'A is for Anne,' readers are treated to:

'A is for Anne ' that's Anne with an E
a red headed orphan who loved Avonlea.
The Cuthberts had thought they were adopting a boy,
But that red headed girl would be their pride and their joy.'

Informative sidebar text that digs into the presented subject matter provides background information, facts, and trivia ' leaving readers 'in the know' about important Canadian topics. Adding to the educational element, Sleeping Bear Press also has a free downloadable teaching guide available for grades 2 ' 6, helping teachers dig deeper into the presented materials with their students. Literature, geography, social studies, research, writing, and history extensions are provided to accompany each letter and topic as it appears in M is for Maple.

Depending upon the age of the audience, this versatile work can be read several ways. Preschoolers will enjoy the rhyming text and vibrant illustrations that appear in either two-page spreads or on single pages ' it is even available in a board-book edition for the tiniest Canada lovers. Early elementary students can dig into the informative sidebars as well, and children who are familiar with basic mapping, reading, and writing skills can delve into a fuller unit-based study of Canada with the book and teaching guide serving as a spine.

Far from being limited in interest to children ' the handsome hardcover makes an irresistible coffee table book ' relatives have nabbed our copy whenever we visit with it on hand. My twenty-something sister exclaimed in delight over, 'B is for Banting, B is for Best,' and my seventy-something grandmother has poured over it several times.

It was her eagle eyes that happened to catch two small errors in the factual text that could have easily been caught by a good fact checker. Downtown Winnipeg is well known for having the windiest corner in Canada, but not the coldest and Cape Breton Island is part of Nova Scotia, not New Brunswick. Thanks Grandma. Other than these two counts, the remainder of the information presented seems sound.

NOTE: These errors have since been corrected in the current version.

In only 26 letters, Ulmer's introduction to the alphabet and Canada covers a large territory both geographically and in the number of foundational 'pegs' for children to hang additional knowledge on as they grow. From coast to coast to coast, from city to field, from past to present, the broad selection of topics join together to form a tapestry familiar to all who know and love Canada. Whether in the library, schoolroom, or home, M is for Maple is sure to hold onto its status as a classic in Canadiana for children for years to come.
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on July 25, 2001
This is a great book for all children, but especially for children living in other countries. It gives young children insight into Canada at their level. It is especially beneficial to Canadian children of servicemen living abroad or in my case my grandson who lives in the United States but has one Canadian parent. It introduces him to his dual heritage. I definetely recommend this book to all.
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on June 18, 2016
Fantastic illustrations.
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on December 17, 2015
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