CM . . .
. Volume XI Number 10 . . . . January 21, 2005
Cora Taylor has written the second of three books in the Angelique series of “Our Canadian Girl.” Angelique is a young Métis girl who lived in Saskatchewan in the 1860’s. This fictional account of a Métis community on a buffalo hunt centers on three children, Angelique, her brother Joseph, and her friend, Francois. According to tradition, only hunters could ride the buffalo hunters. Angelique had loved her father’s hunter, Michif, since he was a foal. He was an important part of the survival of her community as he was the fastest buffalo hunter. When she is out riding behind her younger brother, Joseph, they see some shadowy figures in the distance. They report back to the adults, and everyone is worried about a possible raid on the horses. When the raid does happen that night, Michif, along with some other horses, is stolen. Because the children were watching, they follow the raiders and are captured.
The children know that they have to escape and return the horses to their father as soon as possible. The further the raiders go, the more difficult it will be for them to return home. They watch for an opportunity, and Angelique escapes on Michif, the fastest horse. She worries that he will be destroyed as a hunter because she is riding him. When she goes for help, the other two boys hide in the brush. The raiders leave quickly so that they can escape. Angelique then returns to find the boys, and they leave for the Métis camp. Angelique worries that they will not find the Red River Cart trail and will lose their way. When they return successfully, her father is so happy to see them and Michif that he lets Angelique ride the horse back to camp.
The plot is very suitable for the intended audience. It is historical fiction and provides enough background for the young reader to have a sense of the time period. The interest level of the plot is also good for young readers. It is simple and exciting enough to provide a good read. Characters are realistic though not overly developed. The vocabulary and sentence structure are suitable. A glossary is provided at the end with Michif words. Michif evolved from the French and Native languages. There is also an extensive bibliography with some recent publications but many older titles. The notes that the author provides are helpful to understanding Angelique’s culture.
I would highly recommend this book for school, public and personal libraries. It would be useful for curriculum related projects from Grades 3 to 7.
Deborah Mervold, a retired teacher-librarian, educator and Resource Based Learning Consultant, lives in Shellbrook, SK.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.