Spotlight on Canada.


32 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Maps, Index
ISBN 978-0-7787-3476-5
DDC j971




Reviewed by Thane Chambers


Intended for children in Grades 2–4, Crabtree’s new Spotlight on My Country series gives students an overview of each featured nation, highlighting the country’s culture, people, history, food, animals, geography, and cities in each book. For example, Spotlight on Canada contains short chapters on the 10 provinces, landscapes, plants, animals, history, people, bilingualism, cities, outdoor fun, holidays, and natural wonders. Each book is illustrated with drawings and pictures. Many of the pictures appear to be culled from stock photography; some seem to have been Photoshopped.


Spotlight on the United States of America has a fun quiz about American cities—although it would have made more sense to have the answers to the quiz at the end of the book or written upside down instead of right next to the questions. Spotlight on Mexico has an interesting section on Mexican culture that discusses such things as masked wrestling and soccer. Spotlight on Australia looks at the country’s Aboriginal peoples, unique animals, magnificent Great Barrier Reef, and harsh outback.


The history section in many of the books has a strong bias toward a Western interpretation of events. For example, in Spotlight on India, there’s a short section on Ancient Civilizations (almost a third of it defining the word civilization), but no discussion of the country’s art, politics, or philosophies prior to European colonization. In stark contrast, there is a whole chapter on European traders. In Spotlight on China, there is a strong anti-communist bias: “[In a communist country] many people do not feel free, and they do not feel safe.” No mention is made of any positive effect communist rule may have had on China, such as providing political stability. Spotlight on Peru describes the migration of Peruvians from the rural highland villages into Lima’s barridas (shanty towns usually called pueblos jóvenes), but does not explain why it’s happening. Therefore, in order for students to acquire a more balanced historical perspective of these countries, teachers, parents, and librarians should supplement these readers with other sources. Recommended with reservations.


Kalman, Bobbie., “Spotlight on Canada.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 25, 2024,