________________ CM . . . . Volume XII Number 17 . . . . April 28, 2006

cover

Angel in the Snow. (Our Canadian Girl).

Cora Taylor. Illustrated by Greg Banning.
Toronto, ON: Penguin, 2006.
114 pp., pbk., $8.99.
ISBN 0-14-305480-5.

Subject Heading:
Métis - Juvenile fiction.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Deborah Mervold.

**** /4

Reviewed from uncorrected and unpublished proofs.

excerpt

“It sounds as if there is some fierce animal outside. Don’t you think so, Angelique?” Joseph rubbed his finger against the frosted window-pane, trying to clear a spot to peer through as the wind howled and whined around their cabin.

Winter had come with a vengeance to the little settlement at Batoche. Angelique could imagine icy claws trying to pry away the clay Papa had used to chink between the logs of their cabin. And when the clay was gone, the creature would slither through and freeze their very bones. Still she wasn’t about to let her little brother know it worried her.“Francois’s kokum says there is a Wendigo that walks on nights like this.” She narrowed her eyes and made her voice as spooky as she could. “It is probably not an animal at all but a Wendigo come to get you!”

 “Angelique!” Her cousin Therese had been sitting so quietly in the late afternoon darkness that Angelique had forgotten for a minute there was anyone else in the room. “Don’t frighten your poor brother!”

 

The story of Angelique is continued in this fourth book which is part of the “Our Canadian Girl” series. Angelique is home with her brother, Joseph, and her cousin, Thérèse. At the end of the third book, Thérèse’s young husband had been killed in the buffalo hunt along with Angelique’s horse, Michif. Both girls have been helping Angelique’s mother through a difficult pregnancy. As the time for the baby to arrive is near, Angelique’s father takes her mother to a neighbor’s for the delivery. 

     Angelique and Joseph are making angels in the snow when their father returns from the LaVallée’s where their mother is recuperating from the birth of their new sister. François LaVallée has been a good friend of Angelique, but now, if they spend much time together, they are teased by the other children. When Angelique and Joseph make their way on the frozen river to the LaVallée’s house, they are in trouble for their potentially dangerous journey. Angelique is reminded of her mother’s words not to “borrow trouble” when she worries about her mother’s health. François returns with them to their home so he come back with the pony. A nasty winter storm comes, but, during the night, Angelique’s father needs to take Thérèse to the doctor at the LaVallées. When the children wake, the adults have gone. Shortly after, Mennwi, Angelique’s father’s young horse, returns with a bridle but no people. Angelique is worried because they are the only ones who know that the adults are out in the storm. François decides to saddle his pony and attach a rope to Angelique’s horses so that together they won’t get lost in the storm. With François and his pony, Piskislees, in the lead, Joseph and the horse, Gurnuy, come across the sleigh tipped over in the snow. Mennwi is spooked and takes off with Angelique desperately hanging on.

     With the help of the horses, Francois and Joseph pull the sleigh off Louis, Angelique’s father, and Thérèse. They are able to take them safely to the LaVallées. When Angelique doesn’t arrive, everyone is worried. Joseph decides to take his pony and go to her rescue. Angelique had jumped into a snowbank when Mennwi slipped on the road. She is nearly frozen and dreaming of angels when Joseph appears to her as an angel and helps her to safety.

     The Angelique series has continued with realistic characters in believable situations. The beauty and excitement of a prairie is captured well as are the many dangers that come with a winter storm. The plot is simple to follow for the intended readers while also being interesting. There is one main storyline continued from the other books, but this book can be read and enjoyed on its own. A glossary of Michif words is included at the end of the text. Michif has evolved from French and aboriginal languages. The glossary includes the page number where the word is found, a translation of the word into English and a note about the word. This feature would be very useful for readers of any age. A bibliography and timeline are also included. These are useful additions which are found in each book of this historical fiction series.

     Angel in the Snow, along with the other books in the Angelique series, are highly recommended for school, personal and public libraries. The series covers approximately one year in the life of the fictional Angelique. They are an excellent source of Canadian historical information for young readers. 

Highly Recommended.

A retired teacher-librarian, educator and Resource Based Learning Consultant, Deborah Mervold resides in Shellbrook, SK.

 

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

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.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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