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Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town

3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  2,573 Ratings  ·  146 Reviews
Twelve episodes in the everyday life of the community of Mariposa
Paperback, 116 pages
Published December 1st 2006 by Echo Library (first published 1912)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Aug 12, 2009 David rated it liked it
Shelves: read-fiction
This 1912 comic novel is available for free download in many electronic formats. Search by the title and the word “ebook”.

Everything I know about normal life I learn from mass media. For example, if I am to believe my TV, normal friends drop by with cake and gossip. My friends, by comparison, recommend that I read Important Modern Novels (IMNs) that, being modern and important, are filled with madness, adultery, Nazis, animal cruelty, violent death, and so forth. They never bring cake.

I flatter
Devin Bruce
Oct 10, 2008 Devin Bruce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Canadians; literature students; fans of wit.
I have a hard-to-explain love of the writing of Stephen Leacock. It started when I read a short story of his when I was nine or ten, and fell in love with the way he wrote. Stephen Leacock is decidedly NOT something the average ten-year-old would normally like. But he could write about the most banal thing, like going to the dentist, and make it seem like an exciting adventure, and that's part of the joke. That style is put to good use in Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town, where the narrator wa ...more
Jan 12, 2014 Dylan rated it did not like it
Only in Canada could Stephen Leacock become a renowned humorist.

That’s not entirely true – Leacock was supposedly one of the most popular humorists in the English-speaking world way back in the early 1900s – but that Leacock is, to this day, considered one of the foremost Canadian humorists does not speak well of Canadian literature. As a footnote in Canadian history, I could understand Leacock, but as the paterfamilias of Canadian comedy with the most prominent national comedy award named after
May 18, 2013 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Never has a title captured a book more perfectly.


I found that sunshine in a small, tatty orange Penguin book, still shining.

I didn’t know who Stephen Leacock was when I spotted my little book but his name rang a bell, and when I investigated later I found that he had a place in Stuck-in-a-Book’s 50 books you must read but may not have heard about. That was a very good sign.

A little more research uncovered the fact that Stephen Leacock was a teacher who tried a
Raymond Bial
Jan 21, 2014 Raymond Bial rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My daughter gave this book to me for Christmas and what a treasure it is. I had never read of any of Stephen Leacock’s work, and his writing is delightful. As a humorist, Leacock has been described at the Mark Twain of Canada—but he is that and more. He is not as acerbic as Twain and some other American humorists. Leacock’s humor is sweet, loving, refreshing, and refined. The illustrations in this edition are amusing as well and the book design is lovely. Most of Leacock’s works are also readily ...more
Jan 07, 2016 Diane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-books, canlit
These are short stories, little tales about the people who live in a small town called Mariposa post WWI. Mariposa could be anywhere in Canada. Small towns aren't that different, really, from one to the next, and don't change a lot over the years, at least not in the early days of the 20th century. The stories are told looking back to the good old days, a conversation between two people who came from there. Reminiscences. The wry, dry humour for which Stephen Leacock was known. Gentle stories po ...more
Mar 19, 2012 Josh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadia, 2012
Wonderful. There's something about the writing of this book that's just infused with joy. Something akin to Robertson Davies or Mark Twain. Leacock manages to turn everyday people's everyday lives to adventures. It's one of those books that should be completely boring but isn't. It's the type of book I wish was ten times longer than it is.

It's told in an episodic nature, and each episode focuses on a different character, yet all of the characters recur throughout the book and they're all highly
Darcy McLaughlin
Leacock is one of those writers that as a Canadian I've heard of many many times yet never took the time to look into. I had seen many comparisons between him and Mark Twain, who is a writer I greatly enjoyed so I figured this would be right up my alley.

It was, in a way. There are certainly humorous moments in some of these stories that genuinely made me chuckle, and there is definitely an edge of satire that runs throughout. There are also many moments that were too dry for me, and I found it a
Sep 14, 2009 Susan rated it really liked it
This gently humorous portrait of a small Ontario town is more loving than satirical, but the author invites the reader to share with him the knowledge that Mariposa is a little less special than its inhabitants believe. The best minds of Mariposa may not know what happened the night of the bank robbery, but Leacock and his readers can figure it out. This is gently whimsical rather than laugh-out-loud funny, but you will enjoy the quiet non-events of these old-fashioned Canadians.
I read this for a Canadian Lit class. It was okay, a sweet portrayal of a small town. I particularly liked the chapters on the town "ship" and the town's bank robbery. The sarcasm, satire and exaggerated humour here is wonderful and comparisons are wonderful. It bothered me though that there wasn't really a story. I understand that it was a collection of sketches about of the town but still, there wasn't any 'meat' to it. Still an interesting, light-hearted read though.
Nov 19, 2012 Marvin rated it it was amazing
A remarkable little book -- nothing, absolutely nothing, comes anywhere near it in terms of accurately capturing life in small-town Canada. It's also laugh-out-loud funny, but yet also at times poignant and bittersweet. And though written over a century ago now, it still has a very modern sensibility and point of view.

Since 1947, the annual winner of the Canadian award for humour writing has been awarded the Stephen Leacock medal. This book is the best place to find out why.
While this is considered a classic of gentle humor in Canada, I found some of the stories quite harsh. The characters I felt the most sympathy for were Mr. Smith, the corrupt local saloonkeeper and politician with a heart of gold, and for Mr. Drone, the incompetent, pompous reverend who wished he could have been an engineer. I was struck by how people in the town of Mariposa, having little to do, loved listening to long political speeches. How different from today.
Aug 09, 2008 Lesliemae rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: prairie folk and other assorted country life
Recommended to Lesliemae by: Andrew Lesk
Shelves: canadian
Coming from a small centre (Saskatoon), I appreciate the flavour of this book. At times I laughed out loud at small town antics and world view. Laughing out loud is a feat in itself for a book to accomplish. However, by the end chapters the laughter had turned bittersweet. No more laughing now that the author has made me feel as though I've lost part of my soul to the materialistic and capitalistic machine that I now operate in.

Nov 22, 2013 Joey rated it really liked it
I don't know that I expected it to be as funny as it is. The story of the riverboat and the account of the election in particular had moments that made me laugh out loud. I like that despite the often cynical tone the book still radiates affection for its little town. They should have made me read it in school. I hope they make other kids read it.
Apr 05, 2008 Nadine rated it really liked it
Shelves: university
Another university read that I really enjoyed. I took a Canadian lit class and was surprised how much I really enjoyed a lot of the books. That was a number of years ago and at the time I wanted to get rid of the books so I could get a bit of money, but I'm wishing now that I had kept them, because I'd really like to read them again. This book specifically reminded me a lot of home.
Bart Williams
Aug 23, 2007 Bart Williams rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone, esp. Canadians
A lot of eople would pigeon-hole this as small town humour. But Leacock's aim is to show that people are alike eveywhere. This is an hysterical yarn about a fictional Ontario town, its trials an tribulations, and the sinking of the Miraposa Belle. If you ever have wondered what makes Canada Canadian, or just want a good laugh, read this.
Sep 21, 2008 Illusha rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Canadians
Although I personally did not Leacock's humour to be particularly funny, and thought most of the stories were somewhat anti-climactic, I must say that 'Sunshine Sketches' definitely grew on me as I progressed through the book. Indeed, I could not help but buy into the beautifully-crafted sense of nostalgia that Leacock draws on in the book's conclusion.
Richard Piet
Oct 18, 2008 Richard Piet rated it really liked it
Few books can make me laugh out loud. This is very Canadian in delivery. I have been out of Canada for about 16 years now. When I read the CBC news online, it seems like all of Canada is a small town. I just remembered this book and the joy it gave me.

If you live in a small town or will visit one, give this a read. It is light and fun.
Matt Jarvis
Dec 01, 2012 Matt Jarvis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finished this wonderful book far too quickly, but it brought me many smiles, a few chuckles and even a couple of thigh slaps. Stephen's humour is charming. I couldn't help but think it was similar to Douglas Adams (Hitchhikers Guide), in the best possible way.

Highly recommended if you're a human being that likes to smile. :)
Jul 15, 2011 Sara rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I hated this book. It was slow. It was boring. It didn't seem to have much of a point. It was a guy, telling stories as if you were sitting in front of him, going back and forth and here and there. I hated it.
Feb 14, 2008 Lori rated it it was amazing
Shelves: canadian
I had to read this for one of my university classes about a hundred years ago, but it's stuck with me since then. Growing up in a small town, myself, I could relate to a lot of the themes, and could even imagine characters in the book living in my town.
Emilie Mcwilliams
Jan 17, 2016 Emilie Mcwilliams rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
I found a copy of this at Half Price Books and bought it primarily because the cover was pretty. I'm happy to report this book is hilarious and I have no regrets.
Nicola Mansfield
Apr 15, 2014 Nicola Mansfield rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a beautiful hardcover collector's edition of this Canadian classic which has been profusely illustrated by the comic artist commonly known as Seth. Starting with a lovely gold foil dust jacket, moving on to pull-out flap page with a mosaic of inch+ square portraits of each character mentioned throughout the stories. Plentiful illustrations form the front and end pages and each story has several accompanying "decorations" with at least one being a two page spread. The presentation of the ...more
Nov 19, 2016 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Can a book make you feel homesick?? I think this one did a little bit!? In a good way though!!

This type of storytelling, the kind that an older generation of folks did long ago, kind of makes me want for a bygone time. Then I ask myself, how in the heck can you miss something you were never a part of? Kind of weird how that works?!?

It was definitely most enjoyable. Easy to read for the most part but Leacock used some pretty fancy words like emolument, adjunct, semaphores and the likes of which j
Tony Hoft
Jan 07, 2017 Tony Hoft rated it it was amazing
Jul 17, 2014 Pamela rated it it was amazing
(view spoiler) ...more
Sep 25, 2016 Tony rated it really liked it
Time for some humour and who better than Stephen Leacock. The fictional setting of "Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town" (1912) is Mariposa and the stories focus on the characters that populate it. What I like about Leacock’s work is that he's seldom acerbic, and the humour is derived from hyperbole and some fantastic descriptions. This is a book that will appeal to everyone. Recommended.
Feb 13, 2012 Elisabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor
This is an absolutely charming little book, perfect for summer reading. I read the first couple of chapters and found them pleasantly entertaining, but by the third chapter, about the picnic excursion aboard the town steamboat (one of the funniest in the book) I was completely sold. By the time I reached "The Great Election in Missinaba County" I was practically shrieking with laughter. (My family, who knew I had their lunch in the oven, were not so amused.)

Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town, fi
Czarny Pies
Sep 27, 2014 Czarny Pies rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: History buffs
Recommended to Czarny by: My sister
Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town is a Canadian national treasure. Like all works of this master humourist it is extremely funny. Lovers of literature might be appalled by this book for how frivolous it is. The characters are one dimensional all being essentially designed to set up the punch line at the end of the chapter. Leacock has the Panglossian outlook that his Orillia (a charming town in Southern Ontario) is the best of all possible towns peopled by well-intentioned people with nothing b ...more
Pop Bop
Jul 27, 2016 Pop Bop rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Slightly Mocking, Gentle Irony - A Canadian Specialty Since Forever

I'm an admirer of Garrison Keillor's "Lake Wobegon" novels, but I can't be the only reader who senses a lot of anger, bitterness, and contempt running deep beneath their surface. Some of the reminiscences are whimsical and affectionate, but there are also some very thorny little pricks and hidden gievances. Which brings us to this book, which is gentle and slightly mocking, and always in the sunshine, but also smart and shrewdly
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“The writing of solid, instructive stuff fortified by facts and figures is easy enough. There is no trouble in writing a scientific treatise on the folk-lore of Central China, or a statistical enquiry into the declining population of Prince Edward Island. But to write something out of one's own mind, worth reading for its own sake, is an arduous contrivance only to be achieved in fortunate moments, few and far in between. Personally, I would sooner have written Alice in Wonderland than the whole Encyclopedia Britannica.” 7 likes
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