Sunday, March 27, 2011

L is for Land of Living Skies: A Saskatchewan Alphabet

L is for Land of Living Skies
A Saskatchewan Alphabet
Written by Linda Aksomitis
Illustrated by Lorna Bennett
ISBN: 978-1-58536-460-9

I've lived in Saskatchewan for more than 40 years. I know a thing or two about this province, but Linda Aksomitis' picture book L is for Land of Living Skies: A Saskatchewan Alphabet taught me a few things I didn't know.

Did you know there used to be more than 3,300 grain elevators in Saskatchewan? Have you heard of the "great white combine"? Do you know where the first Kimberlite in Saskatchewan was discovered? I know what you're thinking - "No, no and what the heck is Kimberlite?" Whether you are from Saskatchewan or just want to learn more about the most beautiful of prairie provinces, L is for Land of Living Skies is a wonderful way to do it.

Each page is devoted to one letter of the alphabet. It features a rhyme about the topic for that letter. Along the page is a sidebar with more detailed information.

N is for Northern Lakes Naming Project

Near four thousand northern lakes
bear the names of those who fell,
gave their lives up for our land -
listen and remember well.

In the sidebar you will read that "Saskatchewan is home to more than 100,000 lakes, with the majority of them in the north. Between 1950 and 1970, about 3,800 geographic features were named for the men and women who gave their lives for their country during wartime."

The organization of this book makes it more than your typical alphabet book. It is a good read aloud for kids, but the sidebar information makes it more interesting for readers of all ages.

For some added interest, Aksomitis includes a "Birds to Spy" feature. When you spot a bird, try and name it. Hint: its name will begin with the letter of the alphabet pictured on that page. There is a key at the back of the book. Also on the "A Flock of Facts" page at the back of the book are 13 trivia questions and their answers.

Illustrator Lorna Bennett is no stranger to illustrating alphabet books. She has also illustrated C is for Chinook and M is for Mountie also published by Sleeping Bear Press. Her illustrations are beautiful and full of life, particularly the pages of prairie landscapes.

Linda Askomitis has written many travel books, books for older students including Adeline's Dream of the From Many People series and Run, a Nitty Gritty novel published by Pearson. This is her first children's picture book and with it she has brought Saskatchewan to life for those who have not had the good fortune to live here and to remind those of us who do about the beauty we are so blessed to have surrounding us every day!