Carson Crosses Canada by Linda Bailey

Carson Crosses Canada by Linda Bailey
Publisher: Tundra Books
Genre: Children’s (0 – 6 y.o.), Contemporary
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Feisty Annie Magruder and her dog, Carson, live in British Columbia, Canada, and they’re setting out to visit her sister, Elsie, in Newfoundland. In their little rattlebang car, packed with Carson’s favorite toy, Squeaky Chicken, and plenty of baloney sandwiches, Annie and Carson hit the road! They travel province by province, taking in each unique landscape and experiencing something special to that particular part of this vast, grand country. For example, they marvel at the beauty of the big, open sky — and grasshoppers! — in Saskatchewan and discover the gorgeous red earth and delicious lobster rolls in PEI, before finally being greeted by Elsie — and a surprise for Carson!

Who wouldn’t love a summer road trip?

I was excited to read a picture book about a Canadian woman who was a senior citizen. There are precious few main characters out there who fit all of those labels in this genre, so it was a thrill to finally meet one. Annie was such an adventurous person, too. She planned out her cross-country trip carefully and genuinely seemed to enjoy every new experience she had as she drove from British Columbia to Newfoundland. I also appreciated learning about her reason for making this drive. While I can’t share what it was without giving away spoilers, it made me smile to see how she made the best of a sad piece of news. That is definitely a skill that everyone should learn, kids and adults alike!

Carson brought a wonderful dollop of humor to Annie’s plans. He was a curious little dog who had no idea what to expect when his human decided to travel. Some of the funniest scenes were the ones where Annie interpreted Carson’s dog noises in ways that made it seem as though they spoke the same language and he genuinely understood the questions she was asking him. It showed off their close and loving relationship nicely, and it also made me giggle.

This tale did a wonderful job of sharing some of the most picturesque parts of Canada in kid-friendly ways. Anyone who is familiar with Canadian geography will probably be able to guess at least some of them, but the plot works just as well for readers who wouldn’t have the foggiest notion of where to find Saskatchewan on a map. I adored the fact that it left ample room for readers of all ages and backgrounds to bond with the characters and enjoy their trip.

Carson Crosses Canada was a gentle and marvelous adventure.

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