CM . . . . Volume XV Number 13. . . .February 20, 2009.
Halifax, NS: Nimbus, 2008.
134 pp., pbk., $10.95.
Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.
Review by Caitlin Campbell.
Meg's hands fumbled to unfold the paper. Could this contain the answers she was looking for? Would the note tell her what she needed to do to get back to Picasse Bay? She dropped the shell in her lap and read Tante Perle's words.
Ma belle Marguerite,
The first Marguerite could not keep Geneviève from being separated and put on a different ship during the Acadian Deportation. This has left a curse on the Gallant family ever since.
Marguerites throughout the generations have been sent back in time to fix this mistake and failed. My failure cost me my dear Ginette. Yours may cost you Nève.
You are our last hope. The magic is in danger of being lost. If you fail, the Gallant legacy of broken friendships will remain with our family forever.
P.S. Think on your feet and you will find the answer.
Twelve-year-old Meg Gallant and her cousin Nève are determined to win the Acadian Star talent competition that has come to their small Cape Breton town. Hoping to reach the finals in Halifax, the two best friends have worked tirelessly to perfect their song and dance routines. But on the night of the competition, after learning the crushing news that Nève is moving across the country, Meg is magically transported into the past by her eccentric great-aunt Perle. Stranded in the eighteenth century, Meg finds herself charged with the task of breaking her family's curse by preventing her ancestors from being separated during the Acadian Deportation.
Written in the tradition of Janet Lunn's The Root Cellar, Acadian Star fails to add any freshness to the genre of past-time (or time-travel) fantasy. At times sickeningly sweet, sentimental, and simplistic, Acadian Star's themes of friendship and love, though well-intentioned, are embarrassingly unsubtle. The potentially fascinating and historically rich setting of the Acadian Deportation seems almost incidental as there is a disappointing scarcity of historical
detail. (Indeed, the reader may find the Wikipedia entry on the Acadian Deportation more interesting than this novel.)
Caitlin Campbell is a student in the Master of Arts in Children's Literature Program at the University of British Columbia.
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