Canadian Starters (Canadian Themed Readers)

Canadian Starters are a huge set of 90 easy readers published for the school market in the 1970s and 1980s.  I have seen British and Australian versions of these as well and I'm fairly certain they started in Great Britain as the "MacDonald Starters".  The Australian once are aptly called "Australian Starters".  There are 9 categories starting off with the simple Me & My Community and from there they move onto culturally significant topics pertaining to the country is question.  There has never been a set of Canadian easy readers comparable to these, nor do I ever think there will be.  I'll admit the drawings are 70s/80s cheesy but the text is wonderfully simple to read while being informational and interesting.  What other set of easy readers includes books on all the provinces, Norman Bethune, Nellie McClung, Stephen Leacock, Insulin, Standard Time, Snowmobile, Hockey, Curling, Lacrosse, Welland Canal, Casa Loma, Giant Nickle, Columbia Icefields, Magnetic Hill, Thousand Islands, beaver, prairie dog and the Canada Goose plus oh so much more all in one series.  I used to have many more of these long ago but they went by the wayside when we moved across the country.  Here are the four we currently have and ds has read them as his non-fiction readers.

Canadian Starters series

Alexander Graham Bell. 1981. by Paul Miller. Book 3 in the People Series. Focuses on Bell's invention of the telephone but does mention his other work with visible speech, kite flying, the telegraph and his work with the deaf. Emphasizes that though Bell traveled and lived in the US and UK, he kept coming back to Canada.

Raccoon. 1981. by Jim Bricknell. Book 8 in the Wildlife Series. A brief non-fiction account of the life and habits of raccoons in the wild. From birth, enemies, food, homes, etc. Outdated in the fact that it talks about using raccoon fur for coats & hats, but that only brings the topic to the table for discussion.

Emily Carr. 1981. by Paul Miller. Book 2 in the People Series.  Tells the story of Emily and her love for painting.  Follows her as she travels to San Francisco, England, France to learn her art and finally back to British Columbia where she painted her love for the Native Totem Poles and Indian villages but she was not successful as a painter so she did other arts for a time and not until she met the Group of Seven did she start to paint again and this time she took on her favourite object, trees and forests, finally being recognised for the fine artist she was.

 Moose. 1981. by Jim Bricknell. Book 5 in the Wildlife Series. Offers information on moose in the wildlife from distinguishing features, habitat, origin of name, diet and social activity.  Also mentions moose hunting both from a Native point of view for clothing and food and from a hunter's point of view.  No opinions on hunting are given so one may insert their own personal views easily into the story, pro or con.  Informative.


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