Grades 4 - 5 / Ages 9 - 10.
Earlier in December, Uncle Will and Father had argued for the first time. Oliver thought of that now and tried to remember what the argument had been about. Oh yes, the row of books that was always on the mantel, books that Oliver's father had bound back home.Oliver lives in Fort William and his cousin Bert lives close by in Prince Arthur's Landing. It is just before the New Year of 1880 and the boys argue because their fathers have quarrelled. Oliver vows never to speak to Bert again but Mr. Campbell, his grouchy blacksmith boss, urges him to talk to him. He finds out why the brothers disagreed and their dispute parallels some of the tensions between Fort William and Prince Arthur's Landing. Oliver's father has set off on a dangerous job carrying nitroglycerine and when he is away the Powder Company blows up. Oliver's sister Hannah is lost in the commotion and Oliver asks Bert to help him find the girl. The boys are finally reconciled.
This slowly-paced historical fiction novel is Ms. Acheson's first book. The dialogue and plot would have little appeal for contemporary readers. Some readers in the Thunder Bay, Ontario area might be interested in the book as it sheds light on the history of the amalgamated communities.
Lorraine Douglas is Youth Services Coordinator at the Winnipeg Public Library.
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Copyright © 1996 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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