The Christmas Canoe
Illustrated by Magdalene Carson
Shelley’s time in the Ottawa Valley researching the songs and stories of former loggers inspired his cheery tale of how Père Noël brings Christmas to the snowbound crew of an old-time lumber shanty. The jovial “maître” of the revels arrives in a giant, magic, flying canoe packed with Christmas goodies and paddled by elf voyageurs.
For Singing and Dancing and All Sorts of Fun
This book is Shelley’s Ph.D. Folklore thesis—whoa! Don’t go away: it’s actually a good read.
The book came about in this way. In 1976, Shelley was hired by Toronto’s Mariposa Folk Festival to find traditional Ontario performers. His travels took him to the central, then the eastern part of the province, then across the Ottawa River to Chapeau, Quebec, an Irish-French village where he met an extraordinary singer named Loy Gavan. Loy performed at Mariposa that year and kindled Shelley’s curiosity to learn more about what was clearly a rich community singing tradition. When it came time to do his Ph.D. field research, Shelley moved to Chapeau.