________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 6. . . .November 7, 2008

cover

Voyageur.

Eric Walters.
Toronto, ON: Penguin Canada, 2008.
148 pp., pbk., $12.99.
ISBN 978-0-14-316810-2.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Catherine Howett.

***½ /4

Reviewed from Uncorrected and Unpublished Proofs.

   

excerpt:

The bear charged!

I stood there, too scared to run, to stunned to think, and watched as this massive mound of black fury, growling and snarling, ran toward us, getting bigger and bigger and bigger!

 

Brian, his mom, and his sister Jennie are in way over their heads! In an attempt to attain some closure for herself, Brian's mother has brought them from Manhattan to Northern Quebec to scatter the ashes of her husband, Brian's father at a deep woods camp where he had spent the summers of his childhood. Ill-equipped and completely unprepared for their canoe trek, they run into serious trouble which culminates in Brian's being swept into rapids and losing the canoe and many of their supplies.

     Prolific, award-winning author Eric Walters has produced a strong, action-oriented story in Voyageur, one which introduces characters who develop believably through the events of the story. His depiction of the disorder a family grief of this magnitude entails is both balanced and thoughtful. Although Brian is the protagonist, his mother and sister are developed enough as characters to enhance the description of family dynamics and developments.

      The Canadian focus of this story is keyed by the description of the landscape and through the plot device of having an elder Pierre Trudeau be the canoeist who rescues the family from their predicament and who serves as a mentor for Brian. This approach allows Walters to discuss Canadian near history in a believable context, and personalizes a political icon.

      The language of the book is appropriate for the intended audience, and the pace of the story will keep the reader engaged to the last chapters. The plot development, from out-of-control (as things go from bad to dramatically worse), to rebalance (through the resolution of their quest) is mirrored both in the journey and the characters' personal development. It is clear that they all have attained a degree of equanimity that will allow them to move forward with their lives.

      I really enjoyed this book, and so also, did one of the young visitors we had this summer because my review copy disappeared in August!

Highly Recommended.

Catherine Howett, a Research and Resource Centre Coordinator and advocate for school libraries, lives in Vancouver, BC.

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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