Brave Jack and the Unicorn
Teachers' Resource Page

Listen to a Newfoundland Folk Tale

I was inspired to create Brave Jack and the Unicorn, in part, by listening to actor Andy Jones tell traditional Newfoundland folktales while working with him and grade 8 students at Macdonald Drive Junior High in St. John's, Newfoundland. You can hear Andy Jones tell one of these stories by visiting the Alder Institute Archives. Go to episode 62 and click on "Jack and the Three Giants." This file can be downloaded and played with an application such as Real Audio. This recording is 22 minutes long. There is a small amount of mature content at the very end of the recording, after the story is told. Listen to the story to determine if it is appropriate to use with your students.

Putting Brave Jack on the Map

At the front of the book, underneath the publication data (opposite the dedication and acknowledgments), you'll find a list of locations for the illustrations in Brave Jack and the Unicorn. Using a map of Newfoundland, you can help students locate these settings. Illustrations 1 to 7 are found on the eastern side of the island. Illustrations 10 to 14 are located on the west coast.

To get a free map of Newfoundland and Labrador, send an e-mail to


The best book about icebergs for this age-group is Castles in the Sea: All About Icebergs by Lawrence Jackson with illustrations by Di Dabinett. I edited this book, so I'm not impartial, but the National Library of Canada's included it in their "Read Up On It" publication, The Nature of Words, and you can read their review by visiting this link.  This book may be hard to find in book stores, but if you put the title and author's last name into Google, a number of legitimate mail-order suppliers will appear.

From about February on, ice conditions off Newfoundland are monitored carefully. You can visit the US Coast Guard's International Ice Patrol web site to see what's happening with icebergs and pack ice (frozen sea ice) during the months when the Patrol is active.

The Landscape of Newfoundland

The ecology of Newfoundland is sub-arctic boreal forest, part of a forest that goes all the way around the northern hemisphere and covers most of  northern Canada that lies below the tree line. If you ask a child in Newfoundland to draw a tree, you'll get a triangle on a very short stick, unlike the lollipop shape children raised in more temperate climates draw. If you are using the book outside Newfoundland, ask students how the landscape portrayed in the book differs from the one they see from their classroom windows. 

To learn some interesting facts about the northern boreal forest, visit the Sierra Club's Boreal Forest Ecoregion Web Page

The Weather of Newfoundland

The weather is an almost endless source of fascination to Newfoundlanders. St. John's, the capital of Newfoundland and Labrador, has more foggy days, more snow, more rain, more wind and more cloud cover than any other city in Canada. To find out about the weather in Newfoundland, visit Environment Canada's Atlantic Climate Centre web page for The Climate of Newfoundland.   

If you live outside Newfoundland, it might be fun to compare the daily weather reports for Newfoundland with your own area for a week. You can find a map that will take you to daily weather reports for any area in Canada at Environment Canada's Weather Office Current Conditions web page.

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