Barkhouse, Janet. 2010. Sable Island—Imagine! Illustrated by Sally Bratt. Porcupine Chapter Book Series, Curriculum Plus Publishing Company, Toronto, Ontario. 47 pages.
Note (ZL): The author first visited Sable Island in early spring 2008—a sunny day-trip with friend Sandra Barry. In this story Janet Barkhouse shares many of that day’s experiences—sights, sounds, and scents of Sable—but presents them as they would be experienced by a very excited and delighted child. The child’s adventure includes travel on a small aircraft, landing on a beach, meeting wild horses and a new foal, and, when some beached balloon debris is found, learning a little about marine pollution. Interestingly, the entire story is written with no mention of the child’s name, and no indication of whether the child is a boy or a girl, thus making it easier for some young readers to inhabit the skin of the child exploring the island.
The text (about 5000 words) is illustrated with 17 black-&-white pencil sketches by Sally Bratt, with a colour pencil sketch for the cover. The book is for children aged 7 to 8 years. Porcupine Chapter Books are intended for children to read in classrooms. They are not usually sold in bookstores, but can be purchased online from the publisher. A free online teaching curriculum is available for each book in the series. Nancy Wilcox Richards prepared the curriculum for Sable Island—Imagine!:
Janet’s other Sable Island writings include Pit Pony,The Picture Book (co-authored with her mother Joyce Barkhouse, and wonderfully illustrated by Sydney Smith) in 2012, and a book of poetry Sable Island Fieldnotes published by the Friends of the Green Horse Society in 2017.
Chapter 2 provides a few details about the Sable Island Station. When Sable Island—Imagine! was published in 2010, the island was still managed by the Canadian Coast Guard, and the Station was owned and operated by the Meteorological Service of Canada. In 2013 the island was designated as a national park—the Sable Island National Park Reserve—and Parks Canada took over management of the island and the Station.