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Constance Horne
Illustrated by Kelly Brooks Vancouver, Pacific Educational Press, 1992. 112pp, galley, $7.95
ISBN 0-88865485-X.

Grades 4-6 / Ages 9-11

Reviewed by Adele M. Fasick

Volume 20 Number 6
1992 November

Three stories set in Canada's past make up this book. The title story tells of Lucinda, a nineteenth-century farm girl on Vancouver Island who tries to save a young boy who has deserted the sailing vessel on which he was serving. The menacing approach of police and ship's officers threatens the boy, the girl who tries to rescue him, and her compassionate family. Success is not as easy or complete as Lucinda had hoped, but the boy is safe at the end, and the reader has a sense of how difficult life could be for children at that time.

The other two stories in the book take place in Manitoba during the 1930s. "The Mystery of the Slashed Cabbages" is a realistic tale of a farm family determined to take their prize cabbages to the fair. Mysterious attacks on the cabbages prove to be the result of misunderstanding more than evil, and are cured by facing up to facts. The last story, "The Trouble with Esmay," is the weakest of the group. A runaway pig causes havoc in a Winnipeg neighbourhood as two young girls try to rescue it from the slaughterhouse.

All three stories are well written and will appeal to readers seeking short, manageable reading experiences. This book should be popular with teachers and students alike and deserves a place in both school and public library collections.

Adele M. Fasick is a professor in the Faculty of Library and Information Science at the University of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario
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