Thursday, March 1, 2018

Book Review: 'Along the Way: Book Three' by Teresa Schapansky

Canadian author Teresa Schapansky enters the world of children’s books with a very thoughtful and entertaining series entitled ALONG THE WAY. Thus far there are five books with hopefully more to come. The illustrations are by Ken Golden. Teresa is a sharp journalist and a popular speaker in schools and other gatherings and her early love for stories lead to books before she finally decided to write this series.

As an introduction both to the entire series and this book Teresa states,’ In our books you’ll find short stories, and you’ll meet ordinary, everyday children who face ordinary, everyday problems; read along as our new friends learn how to best solve such problems. We’ll go on make believe road trips and come across some pretty amazing facts that deal with different cultures, exciting history, geography, horticulture, science, and more. Most importantly, ALONG THE WAY books are dedicated to encouraging children to broaden their horizons – be all they can be – al the while, sharpening reading skills which are in fact, necessary, as they embark on this fantastic path to lifelong learning.’
And then we meet our host Albertosaurus (aka Albert) a dinosaur. In Book 1 – WELCOME TO BRITISH COLUMBIA! – and before starting our trip through British Columbia we are further educated about dinosaurology – very interesting facts for all ages, but especially for youngster who love to imagine things prehistoric. Then our road trip begins with a fine history of the multiple cultures, different beliefs and customs that abound in North America – and British Columbia is part of Canada which IS part of North America! Albert shows us the sources of immigration and the many exciting different celebrations (and inserts some very fine ideas about respect for other cultures). We learn about Dream Catchers, the splendid Chinese food, Magpies (mean good luck), piƱatas, tacos and more.

And now in this book Albert introduces us to Ryan and Nathan – new friends who are friends of Michael and Kilee the ones who moved away the other youngsters we have met in the other books, are faced with the dilemma of missing their friends. But good counseling from their parents about the positive aspects of changes makes them realize they can write to their friends, that their friends will have new adventures, and that Ryan and Nathan can find new friends. They notice that Michael and Kilee’s house is for sale and about that time they receive letters from their friends telling them about the adjustments and inviting them to visit. Lesson: adapting to changes can be very positive.

And so the trip through British Columbia begins – in Victoria, Vancouver Island with its city of gardens – the Butchart Gardens - rainforest, the City of Totems with its 80 totem poles built by Native Americans, the B.C. Forest Discovery Center, and Nanaimo that began as a mining settlement.
Teresa has a fine way with words, explaining many facts children can understand and learn about different places and concepts. It looks like this is the first of a long ongoing series we can anticipate! Grady Harp, June 15

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.