Prince Edward Island


128 pages
Contains Photos, Maps, Index
ISBN 0-7172-3137-2
DDC j971.7





Reviewed by Steve Pitt

Steve Pitt is a Toronto-based freelance writer and an award-winning journalist. He has written many young adult and children's books, including Day of the Flying Fox: The True Story of World War II Pilot Charley Fox.


This 12-volume series was originally released in 1994. The 1996 editions
contain revised material in 11 volumes, with the 12th volume,
Newfoundland, currently under revision and due to be released soon.

The illustrations and format are virtually unchanged, but the
statistical information and text have been altered to reflect recent
events. For example, the 1996 edition contains the results of the 1995
Quebec referendum and the fact that Donovan Bailey of Oakville, Ontario,
is currently the fastest human in the world.

Each province and territory in Canada is given a separate focus in
these 11 volumes, each of which is written by a single writer (except
for Quebec, which as two authors) backed by a large editorial team
headed by historian Desmond Morton. What they all have in common is an
ability to impart information in a concise, informative, and
entertaining manner.

The depth of research is impressive. Little-known facts have a habit of
popping up in each volume, making this series a refreshing resource even
for knowledgeable readers. Rather than weigh the reader down with
pedantic interpretations of dry facts, the authors allow Canada’s
turbulent and often colorful history to speak for itself. They also
accept ownership of their respective regions’ less sublime moments. In
British Columbia, author Isabel Nanton does not flinch from mentioning
the anti-Asian and anti-union policies that dominated the government of
that province in the early 20th century. Similarly, Jim Lotz mentions
the case of Donald Marshall, a Micmac teenager who was wrongfully
convicted of murder in 1971 because Nova Scotia’s legal structure at
that time systemically discriminated against Natives and blacks.

Canada’s ten provinces and two territories are extremely diverse in
size, history, geography, and human activity. The editors of this series
have made a heroic effort to impose some sort of standardization on the
content and yet remain true to the subject. Each volume begins with an
introduction to the subject, followed by chapters titled “The Land,”
“The People,” “Government,” “The Economy,” and “Arts and
Recreation,” and a tourist’s view of the province or territory.

A handy “Facts at a Glance” page provides all the essential
statistical information and historical dates a student or Jeopardy
contestant might need to cram on short notice. A short section titled
“Important People” provides a quick catalogue of famous and notable
people who were born or made their careers in the region. Each volume
also contains a chapter that is unique to it alone. Not surprisingly,
“Conquest to Confederation” (Quebec) differs sharply from “Buffalo
Robes to Hard Hats” (Alberta) or “The CCF Years to the Present”

Illustrations are both exceptional and plentiful. Virtually every page
of text is supported by a color photograph, archival material, or a map.
By combining pithy text with attractive presentation and easy-to-access
facts, the publisher has ensured the success of this series,
particularly as a resource for high-school projects in Canadian history,
geography, and social studies. French-language editions are planned for
1998. Highly recommended.


Kessler, Deirdre., “Prince Edward Island,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 13, 2024,