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Let's Call it Canada: Amazing Stories of Canadian Place Names: 07/20/14

cover art

Let's Call it Canada: Amazing Stories of Canadian Place Names by Susan Hughes, Clive Dobson, and Julie Dobson introduces children to the history, culture, and to a lesser degree, geography of Canada. It does this, though, through place names.

The book opens with the nation's name. Like La Jolla, California, it's a bit of a misnomer. La Jolla, which means something like "hole in the cliff" for all the caves carved by the ocean into the sandstone cliffs, was misunderstood to be La Joya (the jewel). Canada isn't the name of the land as first thought. Nope, Canada (or canata) is the word for a village or a collection of houses.

From there the book goes through the provinces and territories. After that the book goes for the place names in different categories: named for people, animals, weather, and so forth.

As a non-Canadian, I think I would have gotten more out of the book if it included some maps. I know where the major places are but when the book started focusing on smaller areas (towns and villages or minor rivers and lakes), I felt like I should have been reading with Google maps open (or an atlas of Canada).

Despite the lack of maps, it's an interesting and entertaining book. There's a sense of humor to the history that I haven't seen in similar books on United States history or geography. We take ourselves much too seriously down here.

Four stars

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