The Shooting of Dan McGrew

The Shooting of Dan McGrew by Robert W. Service
Illustrated by Ted Harrison

Pages: unnumbered
Finished: Aug. 14, 2008
First Published: text: 1907; this edition 1988
Genre: children's picture book, poetry
Rating: 4.5/5

Reason for Reading: read this aloud to the 8yo. Qualifies for the Canadian Challenge and I won this signed copy (Ted Harrison) as one of the grand prizes for last years Canadian challenge so it only seemed appropriate to read it for 2nd challenge.

First sentence:

A bunch of boys were whooping it up
in the Malamute saloon;

Comments: One of Canada's greatest poets combined with one of Canada's greatest living painters produces a beautiful and wonderful presentation of this famous Canadian poem. It is hard for me to review a poem but this is the type of poetry I like. One that tells a story and has a rhythmic cadence and is fun to read aloud.

The story takes place in the Yukon during the gold rush and involves a love triangle with a jilted lover causing a shoot-out. At the end the girl wins what she's wanted all along -- the gold. A truly beautiful over-sized picture book and poem most people (even those who do not like poetry much) will appreciate. My rating of 4.5 is only based on the fact that I like poem The Cremation of Sam McGee better and I have to save the 5 for that book.


  1. I agree that I'd probably reserve the 5 for Cremation, though Dan McGrew is pretty great, too. I love, love, love Harrison's illustrations, so bright and stylistic.

    When I was teaching, I used to read Sam McGee to my primary students, but avoided Dan McGrew because of the shooting. Not that I didn't think some kids could handle it, or that it couldn't be a great point to jumpstart a discussion, but who needs that controversy?

  2. I certainly understand your point, especially with a classroom.

    My 8yo is a real boy's boy though who loves a good shoot 'em up. We did have some good discussion with the poem though, epecially about Lady Lou's motivation and a mini gold rush lesson as we haven't covered that in school yet.

  3. Another great review! I'm so jealous of all the books you receive to review!


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