Book Reviews · Charlie's Corner · Recommendations

Charlie’s Corner: Book Review: Saltwater Joys

Welcome to Charlie’s Corner, named after my little boy. Here I will share baby/children’s product and book reviews.
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Saltwater Joys
By: Wayne Chaulk
Illustrated by: Dawn Baker

Published: August 2012
Published by: Pennywell Books
Format Read: Paperback
Genre: Children’s Lit, Picture Book, Lyrical, Cultural

Rating: 5/5

Synopsis

“Saltwater Joys” is perhaps one of the most popular and well-known songs to come out of Newfoundland and Labrador. Written by Wayne Chaulk of Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers, the song is a celebration of the simple pleasures of outport life.

This beloved song is now available in book form, with Dawn Baker’s stunning illustrations capturing the joys of living in Newfoundland. From enjoying quiet mornings in the cove, to admiring icebergs in the spring and brightly coloured leaves in the fall, to breathing in the salty ocean smells and watching the sun set over the water, the words to the song come alive within these pages.

Complete with sheet music at the back, Saltwater Joys is as beautiful as the song that inspired it.

Finalist for the 2014 Heritage and History Book Award

Source: Goodreads

My Thoughts

On our last trip to Newfoundland, I was lucky to find a signed copy of Wayne Chaulk’s book Saltwater Joys. As I am eager to continually expand our collection of literature from the province, I am very pleased to say that it is currently in heavy rotation among my toddlers numerus books.

This children’s picture book, follows the lyrics to the song of the same name, that was made popular by Chaulk’s band Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers. It tells the story of a young boy who takes pride in his island home.

Beautifully illustrated by artist Dawn Baker, the scenes depict each line of the song in vibrant colours that capture life in Newfoundland, past and present. This copy also includes the sheet music, for those who are so inclined to play the song themselves.

I believe that everyone (young and old) could enjoy this picture book. Especially those who are interested in Newfoundland culture and those who are fans of musician Wayne Chaulk.

Additional Notes

Saltwater Joys by Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers

Book Reviews · Recommendations

The Enigma by T.C. Badcock

The Enigma

By T.C. Badcock

Published: May 2009

Published by: DRC Publishing

Format Read: Trade Paperback

Genre: Historical Fiction

Rating: 3.5/5

♥♥♥.5

Synopsis

In September 1942 a German submarine left its home base of St. Nazaire bound for the tiny Newfoundland outport of Three Rock Harbour. The Enigma is Tom Badcock’s compelling story of what happens when the Germans meet up with the Newfoundlanders and the events that changed all of their lives forever. Tom is a five-time decorated retired air force officer who began his career as a cryptographer at the former Fort Pepperrell American base in St. John’s, Newfoundland. He says equipment he used throughout his career functioned nearly exactly like the German Enigma Machine which, at the outbreak of WW2, was considered to be the best and safest mechanical cipher machine available to any country.

My Thoughts

I picked up TC Badcock’s The Enigma by accident, mistaking it for another book about a German U-boat in Labrador. Thankfully I gave this book a try as it turned out to be equally as fascinating.

Badcock begins stating that this was based on a true story that was told to him by a woman on her deathbed. However upon some research I learned that the events that take place aren’t exactly fact. Still there were aspects of the book that may well have been true. Could an isolated Newfoundland community have unknowingly played host to a German U-boat crew? It may well be true, but I chose to read The Enigma as a work of fiction.

The authors knowledgeable of the operations on U-boats and the fishery was quite interesting to me. The deception on behalf of the merchants and the inflation that was the result really gave a good idea of how fishermen and their families lived.

I would recommend TC Badcocks The Enigma to be read with a grain of salt. And maybe a good feed of jigs dinner.

Book Reviews · Recommendations

More than 50%: Woman’s Life in a Newfoundland Outport 1900-1950 by Hilda Chaulk Murray

More than 50%: Woman ‘s Life in a Newfoundland Outport 1900-1950
By Hilda Chaulk Murray

Published: 2010 (Originally 1980)
Published By: Flanker Press
Format Read: Trade Paperback
Genre: Non-fiction

Rating: 3/5
♥♥♥

Synopsis

Hilda Chaulk Murray’s More Than 50% is an important piece of Atlantic folklore that encapsulates a woman’s role in the Newfoundland and Labrador outport community. In the days before Confederation, women and men worked hard to prosecute the province’s robust cod fishery, and although women’s work kept them on shore, their contribution to this once-thriving industry was no less important than men’s. In fact, it was universally accepted that the matriarch was the driving force in meeting the family’s and indeed the entire community’s needs. Murray’s hometown of Elliston, Trinity Bay, in the early twentieth century is the setting for this book, in which she gives a guided tour of the female’s unique and ever-changing roles, from girlhood to womanhood, in the outport way of life.

My Thoughts

More Than 50% was derived from the authors academic thesis for Memorial University (Memorial University of Newfoundland). I came across this book in a small gift shop, when I last visited the island. The topic of women’s life in out-port communities interested me, as that is where my own family were born and raised. Although they are from different communities and weren’t in the fishery, much of the content pertained to what my grandmothers lives would have entailed. And of course those who came before them, as well.

Yes, this book could use some more editing, however it was the content itself that kept my attention. I felt that Hilda Chaulk Murray painted a clear picture of life during the time periods she covered. It must have been fascinating to travel around her home community interviewing its older residents.  She talked of old Newfoundland traditions that were passed through the generations as well as the impact the decline in the fishery had on its people. I found it especially interesting to learn about life in pre-confederation Newfoundland, including how many felt more connected to the United States than they did the country they would eventually join.

The roles of women in the both the fishery and household made for an important topic to be covered. I would recommend it to those who are interested in Newfoundland culture and history.

 

Notable Quotes

“The inshore cod fishery was the main work but the only thing certain about it was the uncertainly.”