Saturday, June 25, 2011

Canadian Railroad Trilogy by Gordon Lightfoot and Ian Wallace

I lead an adult storytime every Monday at noon at the Woodcroft library. The program is open to everyone, but the audience is mostly made up of developmentally handicapped adults and their caregivers. Nonfiction picture books are popular with this crowd, especially when I combine the stories with music.

The picture book edition of Gordon Lightfoot's song Canadian Railroad Trilogy seemed like a natural choice for the group. I was very impressed with Ian Wallace's vibrant artwork. It adds so much poignancy to the text that I got choked up with sadness the first time I read it. I almost decided against using this book for storytime, since I didn't want to embarrass myself with tears. It was too powerful to miss, however.

Canadian Railroad Trilogy has been nominated for the Canadian Children's Book Centre Awards. The book turned out to be an excellent choice for the adult storytime. It was also good to have the opportunity to talk about an issue which is highlighted by the art - the negative impact the railroad had on the lives of so many people as well as the environment. Lightfoot wrote the song in 1967 to celebrate our centennial and it's really the story of the settlement of Canada.

Other picture book/music combos that I've used for adult storytime include:
Skit-Scat, Raggedy Cat by Roxane Orgill and Sean Qualls (plus Ella Fitzgerald CD)
Shake, Rattle & Turn that Noise Down by Mark Alan Stamaty (plus Elvis Presley CD)
Jimi Sounds Like a Rainbow by Gary Golio and Javaka Steptoe (plus Jimi Hendrix CD)
The Long Gone Lonesome History of Country Music by Bret Berthold (plus Patsy Cline CD)

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