Help! We've Got Kids: 1994-1995


264 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Index
ISBN 1-896208-00-2
DDC 917.13'541'0025





Reviewed by Kelly L. Green

Kelly L. Green is the co-editor of the Children’s Literature edition
of the Canadian Book Review Annual.


Palter and Wert bill their book as “Toronto’s Comprehensive Guide to
Children’s Products and Services.” If they had changed the word
“Guide” to “Directory,” this might be an accurate description.
Unfortunately, they do not seem to understand the difference between
these two terms; hence, an unsuspecting reader should be warned not to
expect any “guidance” from this little telephone book. In fact, the
bibliographic page contains a disclaimer that explains all. “Given the
fact that the authors have had to rely on information provided by
advertisers, we must disclaim any inaccurate statements contained
herein. ...The authors can also take no responsibility for the quality
of the services and products provided. [The book] is, after all, a
directory of services, not a guarantor of services. Each reader is
responsible for making his or her own decisions about the use of
providers and the product or service listed.”

We should not be surprised, therefore, that the authors’
“research” seems to have consisted of looking up companies in the
telephone book, making sure their addresses and telephone numbers were
correct, and regurgitating an advertising slogan or tag line. The
companies and organizations listed are divided into appropriate
categories (e.g., After School Lessons, Birthday Parties, Books, Sports,
and Toys and Hobbies), each with its own space-filling introduction
offering little or no useful information. These editorial blurbs leave
out even the most basic definitions (e.g., why not explain the
differences between co-operative, nonprofit, and for-profit child-care
centres instead of mouthing platitudes about the “important decision
that you are making?”).

Aimed primarily at the parents of young children, the book lists
hundreds of mainstream companies and services that most parents could
look up for themselves in the Yellow Pages. As there is no evaluation of
the various services, and since few “alternative” programs are
included (Waldorf schools are notably missing), the book is of limited
value to most parents, and most certainly is not worth the purchase


Palter, Elisa Morton, and Shari Wert., “Help! We've Got Kids: 1994-1995,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 19, 2024,