A Brazilian Alphabet for the Younger Reader


64 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 0-88984-265-5
DDC j981





Reviewed by W.J. Keith

W.J. Keith is a retired professor of English at the University of Toronto and author A Sense of Style: Studies in the Art of Fiction in English-Speaking Canada.


In her introduction, written as if for Brazilian children, P.K. Page
claims that she is writing “for those Canadian children who might like
to learn a few foreign words—or for anyone at all who is prepared for
a bit of nonsense mixed with old engravings.” This is a book that
brings together a number of the writer’s interests: it takes her back
to Brazil, the country she fell in love with when her husband was its
Canadian ambassador in the late 1950s; it is generously illustrated
(Page is also an accomplished artist under her married name, P.K.
Irwin); and it is a book of verse (and Page is unquestionably one of our
finest poets).

The book consists of 26 poems with accompanying illustrations, and each
translates a Brazilian word. Each contains four lines, though
rhythmically they tend to split into couplets, the verse offering
children the pleasure of a simple metre, but sufficiently varied in its
emphases to give pleasure to the prosodically sophisticated. They are
simple but never condescending.

Recommended for those who have learned to read, but age is less
important than being the children of cultivated parents who want their
offspring to appreciate books and art.


Page, P.K., “A Brazilian Alphabet for the Younger Reader,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 23, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/23311.