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Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  3,118 ratings  ·  187 reviews
Twelve episodes in the everyday life of the community of Mariposa
Paperback, 116 pages
Published December 19th 2006 by Echo Library (first published 1912)
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Average rating 3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,118 ratings  ·  187 reviews

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Aug 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now with regard to Canadian humorist Stephen Leacock's 1912 Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town, I have always (and from square one so to speak) been of the distinct and unfortunate impression that for many of us who have had to meticulously and with enforced thoroughness peruse Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town for either school or university, and been forced to, been actually by our teachers and instructors often mandated to dissect Leacock's writing, his choice of words, his style of humour w ...more
Aug 12, 2009 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
Jan 12, 2014 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 afte
Devin Bruce
Oct 10, 2008 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
May 18, 2013 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 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
Mar 19, 2012 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
Czarny Pies
Sep 27, 2014 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
Sonia Jarmula
I first noticed this book in Chapters because of its beautiful design by the wonderful Seth, and was interested by the inside flap calling Leacock "the Canadian Mark Twain". A tall order, if there ever was one. And then I was wandering around the library with an armload full of books that were threatening to topple, but then again, this book was prominently displayed and I couldn't wait to get through the stack and read it, and my, was it wonderful.

Very soon after starting it, I knew I had to ow
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
Jan 07, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canlit, 2016-books
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
Jul 15, 2011 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.
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Super fun collection of short stories about a little town, that could be any small town.
Read as part of the 100 novels that make you proud to be Canadian list
Paul Gaya Ochieng Simeon Juma
This is a very unique novel. It tells the tale of some of the people living in the small town of Mariposa. I would have enjoyed this book if it was not for some troubles of my own that I was going through at the time. I actually was reading it because I wanted to calm down.

Stephen Leacock is a Canadian author. There are few of them that I have read. I believe they are brilliant except Margret Artwood with whom I never quite enjoyed. The present book has been compared to Mark Twain's novel due t
Sep 14, 2009 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.
Aug 09, 2008 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.

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 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.
Bart Williams
Aug 23, 2007 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.
Richard Piet
Oct 18, 2008 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 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. :)
Sep 21, 2008 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.
Apr 05, 2008 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.
Nov 22, 2013 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.
Feb 14, 2008 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 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 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
Sep 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Leacock might be considered the Canadian Mark Twain in terms of humorous writing, and the little Canadian town of Mariposa matches up nicely with small-town life in Twain's works. But the Clemens bite is missing - Leacock is just too . . . nice, in that Canadian way.
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is amazing that I have not read this book until now - 53 years and almost all of them in Canada. Evidently, that was wasted time lived without the influence of what is surely the highest expression of Canadian humour writing. More than that, Leacock ranks with few others - Mark Twain, for example - as the best of this genre, and as such among the very best novelists.
What makes this book so good? It is subtle - straddling the difficult line between affectionate and sympathetic portrayals of t
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Book Buzz: Small Towns in Fiction 2 6 Dec 18, 2013 11:55AM  

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Stephen P. H. Butler Leacock, FRSC, was a Canadian teacher, political scientist, writer, and humorist. Between the years 1915 and 1925, he was the best-known English-speaking humorist in the world. He is known for his light humour along with criticisms of people's follies. The Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour was named in his honour.

Wikipedia article.
“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.” 8 likes
“It just shows the difference between people. There was Myra who treated lovers like dogs and would slap them across the face with a banana skin to show her utter independence. And there was Miss Cleghorn, who was sallow, and who bought a forty cent Ancient History to improve herself: and yet if she'd hit any man in Mariposa with a banana skin, he'd have had her arrested for assault.” 1 likes
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