August 15, 2010: Captain Hook Sails Again - Picture a Children's Book - Love Got Wheels (Doc) - Michael Enright's conversation Annabel Lyon

This week our Summer guest host was Kevin Sylvester.

Captain Hook Sails Again - You've got to have some sympathy for the guy. After all his hand was cut off and fed to a crocodile that has been stalking him ever since for another meal. However he does take pleasure in terrorizing small children. Captain James Hook remains one of the great villains that kids love to hate. Is he really bad, or just misunderstood? Canadian actor Tom McCamus is bringing fiendish glee to his protrayal of the legendary Hook in Peter Pan at the Stratford Festival this summer. He talks about getting hooked on Hook.

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Hour Two: Picture a Children's Book- For most of us our first experience of books came when we were very young, our tiny hands feeling the pages, our eyes growing wide as our mother or father told us the story. And those books were usually filled with pictures that told easily more than a thousand words. Those first impressions can influence us for a lifetime. Kevin talks to the authors of a new book about the evolution of illustrated children's books in Canada.

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Elsewhere on the Show: Nadia Cashman and Ricky Brooks have severe physical disabilities are confined to wheelchairs. They were both living in longterm care facilities in Ottawa when they met and fell in love. But the course of this couple's true love did not run smooth. You wil hear a repeat broadcast of Bob Carty's documentary Love Got Wheels, the story of Nadia and Ricky's struggle for the right to live together as man and wife; and a repeat broadcast of Michael Enright's conversation with Canadian writer Annabel Lyon. Perhaps it's her training in philosophy but whenever Annabel Lyon is rattled she seeks solace in the writing of Aristotle. Which is how she found herself pulling out an old volume of his Nichomachean Ethics. And how she came to write her award-winning novel The Golden Mean which imagines a friendship between the philosopher and his student, Alexander the Great.

Hour 1

Song: Hook
Artist: Benny Green
Album: Naturally

Captain Hook Sails Again

This week, on a warm summer evening in Stratford, Ontario, I had the pleasure of taking in the play Peter Pan.

I should say the unexpected pleasure because having been brought up on the Disney and Mary Martin versions I was expecting a kind of theatrical treacle tart. But this Peter Pan was anything but treacly. Sure it was a crowd pleaser, with cannons and sword fights, songs and slapstick humour. And a man in a dog suit. But there were also stronger emotional themes, psychological musings about childhood, mothers, leaving home and coming back again.

The man who ties it all that together is the actor Tom McCamushe plays both the delightfully evil Captain Hook and the mischievous author of the work JM Barrie who narrates the action from the side of the stage. I sat down with Tom McCamus in Stratford to talk about the timelessness of Peter Pan and what the play means to him.

Song: Hook
Artist: Cincinnati Pops Orchestra
Album: Great Movie Scores from the Films of Steven Spielberg

Featured Disc

Song: Live at Statlers
Artist: Julie Michels
Album: Along the Navajo Trail

Love Got Wheels - Documentary

And now, a love story. Not a story about impossibly perfect love. Nor the wonderfully ordinary kind.

Nadia Cashman is 31. She was born with spina bifida, and has a host of other serious medical problems. Ricky Brooks - just a bit younger - has cerebral palsy. Both have been in wheelchairs almost all their lives. They were both living in a long term care facility in Ottawa when they met and fell in love. Last year they declared their determination to be husband and wife and were married in September of 2009. Then they began an eight month long struggle for the right to live together as husband and wife.

As told by these two lovers, and by Ricky's father Richard and Nadia's mother Helene, here is a repeat broadcast of their story: Love Got Wheels.

Song: Basque Song
Artist: Wynton Marsalis & the Orchestra
Album: Vitoria Suite

Hour 2

Picture a Children's Story

For most of us our first encounter with a book was when we were very young. Odds are it was a big thing, or at least seemed so to our tiny hands. It was filled with pictures, some words and usually involved a parent or two along side trying to help us navigate this exciting new world called reading.

And while we moved on to different types of books and different types of reading as we aged, this first encounter may well have defined not only what type of reader we were going to be but also implanted some pretty strong ideas of what type of person we might be. So you would think that given the importance of that first contact the world of illustrated children's books would be a much studied and analysed experience. But you'd be wrong. For the most part, the illustrated children's book has been,the orphan child of academia.

That's something that Gail Edwards and Judith Saltman have set out to correct. Gail Edwards is Chair of the Department of History at Douglas College. Judith Saltman is an associate professor in the school of Library, Archival and Information studies and Chair of the Masters of Arts in Children's Literature Program at the University of British Columbia.

And they are the co-authors of Picturing Canada: A History of Canadian Children's Illustrated Books and Publishing. They joined us from our Vancouver Studios.

Featured Disc

Song: Wynken, Blynken and Nod
Artist: Buffy Sainte-Marie
Album: The Pathfinder: Buried Treasures

Aristotle, Meet Alexander the Great

Canadian writer Annabel Lyon says her brain is wired for short stories. That may have changed given the incredible response to her first novel. It's called "The Golden Mean" and she wrote it, in part, as a reaction to 9/11 and a world that seems to have gone awry.

Perhaps it's her training in philosophy, but whenever Annabel Lyon is rattled she seeks solace in the writing of Aristotle. Which is how she found herself pulling out an old volume of his Nichomachean Ethics. One thing lead to another and before she knew it, she began doodling with ideas and notes and voila, a novel was born. A novel based on an imagined friendship between Aristotle and Alexander the Great. Alexander the Great was, in fact, a student of Aristotle's. The rest, we can assume, is pure Annabel Lyon.

In 2009, The Golden Mean was shortlisted for the Giller prize AND the Governor General's Award, and it WON the Roger's Writer's 'Trust Fiction Award'. Ms. Lyon lives in New Westminster, BC with her husband and two small children. She spoke to Michael Enright last November.

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