________________ CM . . . . Volume III Number 20 . . . . June 6, 1997

cover Spruce Woods Adventure.

Donna Firby Gamache.
Brandon, MB: Compascor Manitoba, 1996.
96pp., paper, $12.95.
ISBN 1-895624-19-3.

Grades 4 - 7 / Ages 9 - 12.
Review by Luella Sumner.

*** /4


I wondered how long Aunt Martha would wait to phone Ranger Bud or the police. Would it be too late to come looking for us? If I understood Mailer right, their other partner, Jackson, would be coming with a truck, and the meat and the poachers would be gone. And Rachel and I, I hoped, would be left behind - alive.

On the sofa, Rachel stirred and opened her eyes. She looked pale and frightened in the dim light. I winked, but she only stared back accusingly.

I knew how she felt. I was the one who got us into this mess, and it was up to me to get us out. Somehow.

Donna Gamache, a rural Manitoba writer, tells the story of siblings, Jeff, 12, and Rachel, 10, who live on a farm in Manitoba and enjoy their adventures in the outdoors. The pair discover that poachers are shooting wildlife in the park and selling the meat on the blackmarket. They bravely, perhaps foolishly, try to follow the poachers, resorting to telling their Aunt Martha little white lies to cover their activities, sneaking out at night, and then pursuing the bad guys, only to be captured and tied up in an old cabin. The duo escape, are rescued by the Park Ranger and become heroes for saving the park wildlife from poachers. Their parents will soon return from Winnipeg where their mother has been receiving successful cancer treatments and all will be well in their world. And since Rachel had contributed several good ideas that helped them escape from the poachers, Jeff realizes that his "little sister" will be more of a future help than a hindrance.

      This book should appeal both to girls and boys as the action involves both Jeff and Rachel, and Rachel is as capable as Jeff in dealing with their problems. Free to roam in the wilderness, the children ride horses with confidence and generally live a life that would seen idyllic to young readers. Despite being a trifle too good to be true, the characters are nevertheless good role models for readers.


Luella Sumner is Head Librarian at the Red Rock Public Library in Red Rock, Ontario.

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

Copyright © 1997 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