Quill and Quire


« Back to
Book Reviews

Made You Look: How Advertising Works and Why You Should Know

by Shari Graydon, Warren Clark, illus.

Growing up in North America it’s possible for children to be exposed to nearly 16,000 advertising messages a day, says Shari Graydon. Yet kids aren’t taught enough media awareness to defend themselves against the onslaught. Made You Look is an empowering self-defence kit.

Graydon strikes just the right tone: direct and upbeat. She takes pains not to sound preachy or biased against a practice that’s been around for thousands of years. From the slyly tongue-in-cheek cover to the lively magazine format illustrated by Warren Clark’s energetic cartoons, Made You Look draws readers in using the same techniques it examines. The many “sound bites” run the gamut from Tom Waits (“the large print giveth, the small print taketh away”) to John Kenneth Galbraith (“it’s not necessary to advertise food to hungry people”). Graydon’s choices of contemporary cultural references should ensure the book has a reasonable shelf life: nothing’s as ephemeral as this season’s TV hit, but Tiger Woods and Star Wars ought to be around for a while.

Graydon, a past-president of Media Watch living in Ottawa, pitches her book at both American and Canadian readers. Canada has more legislation in place to protect children, we learn: in Quebec, advertising to kids under 12 is actually illegal. But before we begin gloating, remember that regulations don’t stop TV signals at the border.

User-friendly notes and a good index point the way for kids to track down more information and stay media-alert. However, as Graydon points out, even in these days of Internet pop-ups and laser sidewalk spots, when it comes to getting advertisers to listen, good old snail-mail letters still carry the most weight.


Reviewer: Maureen Garvie

Publisher: Annick Press


Price: $16.95

Page Count: 116 pp

Format: Paper

ISBN: 1-55037-814-7

Released: Sept.

Issue Date: 2003-10


Age Range: ages 8+