Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Our Song: The Story of

Our Song: The Story of "O Canada"

Peter Kuitenbrouwer
Illustrator:  Ashley Spires 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 4 and up
Lobster Press, 2004   ISBN: 978-1894222679

People all over the world take great pride in their national anthems, feeling their hearts swell as they hear the melody and as they bellow out the words, and yet all too often they have no idea as to how the song came to be their anthem in the first place."Our Song: The Story of O Canada" tells the very interesting story of the Canadian national anthem. The author ties the story of the song to the story of its country and he also accompanies the text with the lyrics of the song in both English and French. O Canada was first sung in French and it was written by a spare looking man, Calixa Lavallee, who was inspired by the sounds of a waterfall to create this musical tribute. The words were written by another Quebecois, Adolphe-Basile Routhier, who had grown up listening to the songs of the loggers and the native trappers. O Canada was first sung in English in 1907 but it was only in 1980 that it finally became the official national anthem. This event occurred on Dominion Day, a national holiday which was renamed Canada Day in 1982.

Ashley Spires has created wonderfully imaginative multimedia collages for the book?s artwork, which complement Peter Kuitenbrouwer?s excellent text to great effect.