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Produced by Mark Zannis; directed by Joan Henson
National Film Board of Canada, 1991. VMS
cassette, 29:18 min., $26.95. Distributed by the
National Film Board of Canada.

Grades 5 to 10/ Ages 10 to 15

Reviewed by Michele F. Kallio

Volume 21 Number 2
1993 March

Chandler's Mill is an excellent 30 minute look into the harsh realities of child labour and ordinary working conditions in a fictional wool mill in rural New Brunswick in the late 1880s.

Filmed at King's Landing Historical Settlement near Fredericton, New Brunswick, the film is a delight to the eye. Viewers who are lucky enough to visit King's Landing or a similar settlement after viewing this film will have a much clearer understanding of what life was really like a hundred years ago.

The film tells the story of two thirteen-year-old girls, Hettie Wylie and Constance Anderson. When Hettie's father is killed in an industrial accident, she is forced to leave school and her dreams of teaching to work in Chandler's Mill as the sole support of her family.

While the story exposes child labour it also gives the viewer a clear view of what the worker's life was really like, and of the beginnings of the labour movement in Canada. It is a fine presentation of the story of these brave people. Though the mill and characters are fictional, the story is based on fact. Even the cassette case for the video is a source of further information. As well as describing the video, it contains discussion questions and suggests related videos.

Highly recommended for all libraries and school districts.

Michele F. Kallio is a former teacher and librarian in Black's Harbour, New Brunswick
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