Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Children's Fiction Alphabet

A Pioneer ABC

by (author) Mary Alice Downie

illustrated by Mary Jane Gerber

Publisher
Tundra
Initial publish date
Oct 2005
Category
Alphabet, General, Farm & Ranch Life
  • Hardback

    ISBN
    9780887766886
    Publish Date
    Oct 2005
    List Price
    $22.99

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 5 to 8
  • Grade: k to 3

Description

A is for Abigail and Anna, Zebediah’s two sisters. He is making them an alphabet book.

From B, which stands for bandalore, a forerunner of the yoyo, H for the hornbook that taught children to spell, and on through the pigeons that blackened the sky, to the uniform that Papa wore when he defended the king, right through to X for the eXhaustion of parents who are homesteading. This lovely romp through the seasons on a pioneer farm is full of fascinating information.

Artist Mary Jane Gerber has placed numerous items in each of her paintings and detailed borders, and there is a useful list of them for readers to find. Author Mary Alice Downie has included detailed background notes, making this a sweet introduction to our history.

About the authors

MARY ALICE DOWNIE is a pioneering children's author of historical fiction, folktales and picture books, and is the co-editor of the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon award-winning book The Wind Has Wings. Mary Alice and husband John Downie also co-authored Honour Bound and Danger in Disguise. They live in Kingston, Ontario.

Mary Alice Downie's profile page

Mary Jane Gerber has illustrated several books for children, including A Gift for Ampato by Susan Vande Griek and House Calls by Ainslie Manson. She lives in Orangeville, Ontario.

Mary Jane Gerber's profile page

Librarian Reviews

A Pioneer ABC

With bookstores and classrooms being inundated with various alphabet series, this beautifully illustrated picture book is an excellent resource focusing on the Pioneers. This is Mary Alice Downie’s eighth book, but her first alphabet book, while Mary Jane Gerber also illustrated Thanks for Thanksgiving.

Each page focuses on one alphabet letter. The one or two lines of text per page contain several similes. Two American spellings have been included which could be used as teaching points. The Pioneer glossary, at the back of the book, is extremely helpful for the reader, whether they are unfamiliar or have background knowledge regarding pioneer life, to understand words such as “sampler” or “junket.”

Artistically, this book is a brilliant example of creating an alphabet book aimed at younger children. The illustrations boast exquisite colours and fine detail. The inside of the book jacket features the illustrations – without the sentences. This poster would be useful on a Pioneers display board. This book’s setup could be used as model for older students who have been asked to write and illustrate a book for primary students covering another topic such as countries, food or animals.

As a bonus, there is also a list of objects, starting with the same letter, on each page which the reader searches for. This visual game allows the reader to further search the illustrations, including the frames, in greater detail. This is a delightful book which can be used as a class read aloud by the teacher or by an independent reader who is exploring the wonderful world of Pioneers.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Winter 2006. Vol.29 No. 1.

Other titles by Mary Alice Downie

Our Rascal John

The Childhood of Sir John A. Macdonald Canada's First Prime Minister

by (author) Mary Alice Downie

Habitant Customs

Early Voices — Portraits of Canada by Women Writers, 1639–1914

by (author) Mary Alice Downie, Barbara Robertson, Elizabeth Jane Errington & Friederike Charlotte Louise von Massow

Canoes

Early Voices — Portraits of Canada by Women Writers, 1639–1914

by (author) Mary Alice Downie, Barbara Robertson, Elizabeth Jane Errington & Juliana Horatia Ewing

Childhood in Victoria

Early Voices — Portraits of Canada by Women Writers, 1639–1914

by (author) Mary Alice Downie, Barbara Robertson, Elizabeth Jane Errington & Emily Carr

But That Has All Changed Now

Early Voices — Portraits of Canada by Women Writers, 1639–1914

by (author) Mary Alice Downie, Barbara Robertson, Elizabeth Jane Errington & Lydia Campbell

Tragedy

Early Voices — Portraits of Canada by Women Writers, 1639–1914

by (author) Mary Alice Downie, Barbara Robertson, Elizabeth Jane Errington & Letitia Hargrave

The Canadian Climate

Early Voices — Portraits of Canada by Women Writers, 1639–1914

by (author) Mary Alice Downie, Barbara Robertson, Elizabeth Jane Errington & Mary Ann Shadd

Tocsin

Early Voices — Portraits of Canada by Women Writers, 1639–1914

by (author) Mary Alice Downie, Barbara Robertson, Elizabeth Jane Errington & Marie Morin

A Night of Evil Deeds

Early Voices — Portraits of Canada by Women Writers, 1639–1914

by (author) Mary Alice Downie, Barbara Robertson, Elizabeth Jane Errington & Laura Goodman Salverson

Ukrainian Prairies

Early Voices — Portraits of Canada by Women Writers, 1639–1914

by (author) Mary Alice Downie, Barbara Robertson, Elizabeth Jane Errington & Maria Adamowska

Other titles by Mary Jane Gerber