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Groundwood Books

Canadian Railroad Trilogy

Written by Gordon Lightfoot • Illustrated by Ian Wallace

For kids 4 years old | Published September 18, 2010 | ISBN 9780888999535
JUVENILE NONFICTION / History / Canada / General

Cover of Canadian Railroad Trilogy

Regular price $24.95 CAD

56 pages | 12.25 in × 9.25 in
Print Format

About this book

Canadian Railroad Trilogy

Gordon Lightfoot • Ian Wallace

Educator's Guide ↓

Nominee for the 2012 Silver Birch Express Award in the Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading Program

This lavishly illustrated book brings Gordon Lightfoot's heart-stirring song, "Canadian Railroad Trilogy," to readers young and old.

The song was commissioned by the CBC in 1967 to mark Canada's centennial year and it has been a classic ever since. It eloquently describes the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway -- "an iron road runnin' from the sea to the sea" -- a great feat of nation building that changed Canada forever for good and for ill, as in the process many people died and were dispossessed of their land.

Highly acclaimed, award-winning illustrator Ian Wallace brings the song to visual life with his sweeping landscapes and evocative portrayals of the people who lived the building of the railroad -- from the financiers in the east to First Nations people across the country to the thousands of navvies themselves, many of whom came from as far away as China.

About the Creators

Gordon Lightfoot

Gordon Lightfoot, Canada's most famous folk singer, songwriter and guitarist, received international acclaim with songs such as "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" and "If You Could Read My Mind." A great number of his songs have been recorded by well-known artists. He has won many awards, including seventeen Junos and the Governor General's Award, and he has been nominated for five Grammys. He is a Companion of the Order of Canada, the country's highest civilian honor, and a member of the Order of Ontario, the Canadian Broadcast Hall of Fame, the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. He lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Ian Wallace

Ian Wallace is one of Canada’s best-known children’s book creators. He has published many classics, including Boy of the Deeps and Chin Chiang and the Dragon’s Dance. His illustrations for Canadian Railroad Trilogy and Just So Stories have each received three starred reviews. His most recent book is The Curiosity Cabinet. Ian has won the Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award, the Mr. Christie’s Book Award and the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award, among others. He has been nominated for the Hans Christian Andersen Award, the Governor General’s Award and the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award. Ian lives in Brookline, Massachusetts, with his wife, Deb.

Awards and Praise

"Although some paintings show the railway in detail, it's less a book about railroads than it is about the history and settlement of Canada itself....a huge and unusual project, and Wallace has executed it with admirable care." — Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

"The atmospheric illustrations ... capture not only the workers’ toil but also the splendor of the Canadian landscape and, obliquely, the price the displaced First Nations people paid for steam-train technology." — Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

"...Ian Wallace...has produced illustrations worthy of Lightfoot's song in their intensity, evocative power, and shifting moods...[a] beautiful book..." — Quill and Quire, STARRED REVIEW

  • Commended CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens, Starred Selection, 2011
  • Long-listed Vancouver Children's Literature Roundtable Information Book Award, 2011
  • Commended USBBY Outstanding International Books Honor List, 2011
  • Commended OLA Best Bets, 2010
  • Commended Resource Links' Year's Best, 2010
  • Short-listed TD Canadian Children's Literature Award, 2011