________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 3. . . .September 18, 2009


Far From Home. (Canadian Flyer Adventures; 11).

Frieda Wishinsky. Illustrated by Leanne Franson.
Toronto, ON: Maple Tree Press, 2009.
75 pp., pbk. & hc., $7.95 (pbk.), $17.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-897349-43-4 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-1-897349-42-7 (hc.).

Subject Headings:
World War, 1939-1945-Evacuation of civilians-Great Britain-Juvenile fiction. World War, 1939-1945-Children-Canada-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 1-4 / Ages 6-9.

Review by Tanya Boudreau.

***½ /4



“Here she comes!” said Matt.

“Well, children,” said Mrs. King, “we have decided that since Emily is related to the Bings, you will join Kate and John Norris. It is irregular, but in wartime, exceptions must be made. I wish you a safe journey.” Mrs. King wrote their names on her list and marched off to help other children.

“Phew!” said Matt. “Now all we have to do is explain to Miranda and her parents who we are.”

“Yikes!” said Emily. “I don’t know what we’re going to tell them.”

“We’ll think of something,” Matt reassured her. “We have three days on the train to think.”

“But we don’t have any suitcases. People will think that’s weird. I don’t want to wear this skirt and blouse the whole time. It’s hot, and it’s going to get stinky.” Emily looked down at her red plaid skirt and white shirt, and then at Matt’s short black pants and white shirt.

“I know, but at least we’re going to Glenwood, and we’ll meet your Great-Aunt Miranda! That’s awesome! Let’s tell Kate and John we’re traveling with them.”

Matt Martinez and Emily Bing are far from home in this book. They travel from Ontario to Nova Scotia, and from the present to the past. But travel is easy for these two friends because of the capabilities of their sled and their ability to travel lightly - they bring only a recorder and sketchbook on their trip.

internal art      With their irreplaceable sled, Emily and Matt travel to 1940 and land on a ship traveling from London, England, to Pier 21 in Halifax, NS. On the ship, they meet nine-year-old Kate Norris. She is just one of many children on the boat who still have family back home in London. She will be staying with Emily’s relatives until the bombing stops in London. She is grateful for a safe place to stay, but she is scared because she’s in charge of her younger brother and now he’s missing. Before Emily and Matt can accompany Kate to Emily’s Great-Aunt Miranda’s house, they need to find a four-year old who isn’t talking.

     As Frieda Wishinsky does in her other books in the “Canadian Flyer Adventures” series, she seamlessly mixes time travel with Canadian history as Matt and Emily try to solve a mystery and help a new friend. In this book, Matt and Emily meet a much younger Great-Aunt Miranda and visit a very familiar house. Together, they also help find people who are missing, and they discover a secret hiding spot. When the sled takes Matt and Emily back to the present, they bring back recordings and sketches of the past as well as a locket that went missing over sixty years ago.

     Matt and Emily always do research after their trips. They may be home, but Matt and Emily want to know more about the past they left behind. Appearing after this story are their favorite facts about World War II and CORB (Children’s Overseas Reception Board).

     History is not boring when Frieda Wishinsky retells it. Her writing allows children to take a quick trip into Canada’s past and, while there, step into history as it’s happening. Their travels allow them to meet people who are nice to know - or hard to forget.

     Many of the 12 short chapters in this book contain black and white illustrations. Varying in size and placement on the page, they convey a sense of the time period and the emotions the characters are experiencing.

     This is Frieda Wishinsky’s eleventh book in the “Canadian Flyer Adventures” series. A former teacher, her other books include What’s the Matter With Albert? and Jennifer Jones Won’t Leave Me Alone. Wishinsky lives in Toronto, ON.

     Born in Regina, SK, Leanne Franson has been an avid reader and artist since she was a child. A graduate of Concordia University, Leanne has illustrated over eighty books, including the picture books Rainy Days with Bear and The Trailer Park Princesses. Franson lives in Montreal, PQ.

Highly Recommended.

Tanya Boudreau is a librarian at the Cold Lake Public Library in Cold Lake, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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