Finding fun ways to learn more about Canada’s history and culture is always a win. Search & Discover Canada is a great example of this.
What is Search & Discover Canada?
Canadian artist, and homeschool mom, Cheryle Gurnsey, has created a beautiful and interactive set of artwork for everyone to enjoy while learning more about Canada. A series of 10 large, colourful paintings, this oversized book (or poster set) has so much detail across each page. A short text accompanies most of the pages to help explain more about this moment of history or Canadian fact. But the best part is that there are hidden things in each image. Somewhere on the page are clues to what you can find hidden in the background – all related to the topic of the artwork. For example, the page about Confederation has you looking for things such as the number 72 (which is the number of resolutions in the agreement), a crown (which represents the Queen), and some time-related things such as a ball gown, a musket, etc. Right beside each small clue is a smaller number, letting you know how many to look for. For example, there are 16 crowns hidden in the artwork about Confederation. In total, the book has over 375 things to find.
The artwork itself is quite detailed and intricate – in a style that seems to combine a school project with artistry. You can really tell that the artist has put some serious thought into each scene, as there are little extras that you might not even notice are there are first – tidbits of information and illustration that help with the information you learn. For example, each of the men sitting around the table on the confederation page is labelled with their name! In the back are paintings hanging on the wall which represent 3 men who were considered part of the development of Canada, but who weren’t at the meetings, and also of Queen Victoria – who was Queen at the time that Canada became a country. Through the windows in the background are glimpses of scenes from all the places these meetings took place.
It’s not a long book but it does a pretty good job at encompassing several moments of our history through today or sharing more about Canadian facts:
- Indigenous Peoples
- Our Changing Map
- Connecting a Nation: Transportation
- The World Wars
- The Prime Ministers of Canada
- Canadian Authors
- The Group of Seven
- Symbols of Canada
What We Like About Search & Discover Canada:
- It’s just plain fun. We are huge fans of books that you have to find things hidden in – owning all of the Where’s Waldo and many of the I Spy series of books, for example. So, the day I pulled out Search & Discover Canada to give it a try with my kids was a lot of fun. They all scattered across the floor to gather around the book to work together to find the hidden things in the picture. I love that it’s completely fun for everyone – from a 3-year-old who can’t read but has great observation skills through to me as an adult, who is discovering neat new facts through each page.
- I also appreciate that it’s available in both a coil-bound book version AND as a set of posters. A book you can just flip through at leisure. But posters are a great way to have them up and around and usable at every moment of the day. I think that they could be a great way to easily add Canadiana to your walls and each time you walk past you learn something or find something you hadn’t seen before. Both versions are quite large, although the posters are slightly bigger than the book. I love that the posters are printed on a thicker cardstock material to add to their durability.
- It’s beautiful. I’ve already mentioned that I’ve found the artwork enjoyable. As a non-artist myself, I can’t even imagine the time and effort it took to create these watercolour painting in such detail. I also love the fact that it kind of gives me the feeling of a homework project at the same time. My personal favourite page of this book is the very first one about the First Peoples who lived here. It is quite breathtaking.
What Would Make Search & Discover Canada Even Better
- More Art! We enjoyed this so much we were sad when we hit the last page! It went far too quickly. I hope that the artist will consider spending time making another book in the future!
- A little more direction. Admittedly, at first, I didn’t understand what exactly we were to do. The clues and their little numbers weren’t quite evident in their purpose on our first attempt. It wasn’t until we discovered multiple of the same item that we understood. I think a small little note with some simple guidance could help to make it easy to use right from the start.
Want to see what this book is like inside? Visit the publisher’s site and click on the “Preview Now” arrow to see some samples of the pages inside.
Search & Discover Canada book and poster set are available directly from the publisher or (referral link) on Amazon.ca