Saskatoon, SK: Thistledown Press, 1993. 256 pp., paper, $7.95.
Reviewed by Caroline Thomson.
Volume 21 Number 6.
David Richards' Soldier Boys is an adventure story tracing the experiences of a bugle boy with the Winnipeg Rifles and a Métis boy who joins Riel's rebels. Each is a thoroughly likeable character and both are entirely believable. The two characters meet towards the end of the book in a fictional account of the Battle of Fish Creek.
Richards re-creates the mid-1880s very well. The story is dramatic and exciting, pulling the reader into the lives of the young characters.
Richards is well qualified to write this tale, as he has previously written a history of the Riel rebellion. He has also spent a great deal of his life close to such historically vibrant places as Batoche, Duck Lake and Fort Carlton. He has brought his fascination with the history of this area to his novel and has produced an entertaining, exciting and well-researched story.
Since the Riel rebellion is frequently studied at the grade 7 and 8 level, this would be a highly valuable book in schools. It helps to bring to life an important period in Canadian history and may help students appreciate our history more.
Richards provides maps and a glossary as well as a summation of fact and fiction. Readers will be amazed at what they have learned.
Grades 5 to 7 / Ages 10 to 12.
Caroline Thomson is a librarian in Burlington, Ontario.
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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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