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Children's Fiction General

You Can't Do That in Canada

by (author) Bev Spencer

illustrated by Steve Attoe

Scholastic Canada Ltd
Initial publish date
May 2010
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2000
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2010
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 8 to 11
  • Grade: 3 to 6


Think Canadians are the logical, rational bunch? The kind who don't overreact? Well, open this book and find out just how weird and wacky some of our laws have been — and remember, it's kooky enough that the laws were created, but stranger still to think that certain behaviour actually led to their creation!

Here are just a few:

  • An old BC law supposedly made it illegal to kill a sasquatch.
  • You can be imprisoned for challenging someone to a duel, or even accepting the challenge.
  • You can get two years in prison for pretending to practise witchcraft (there was a case as recently as 1984!).
  • There is a two-year penalty for offending a public place with a bad smell.
  • In Fredericton, NB, it is against the law to wear a snake.

Canada has its share of "Rip Van Winkle" statutes that are still on the books. You Can't Do That in Canada! highlights the wackiest, with thirty-five accompanying cartoons. A section at the end includes a quiz about really strange laws, and kids guess which three are the fakes. The rest, bizarre as they seem, are — or were — really on the books.

About the authors

Bev Spencer's profile page

STEVE ATTOE’s illustrations appear regularly in OWL and chickaDEE magazines. He is also a well-known cartoonist - his collections were included in The 100 Best Comics of the Century. When not in his home studio creating funny characters and cartoons for children, he can be found speeding around his hometown of Calgary on his bicycle.

Steve Attoe's profile page


  • Commended, Canadian Children's Book Centre, Our Choice

Other titles by Bev Spencer