________________ CM . . . . Volume VI Number 3 . . . . October 1, 1999

cover Hannah of Fairfield. (Pioneer Daughter Series.)

Jean Van Leeuwen. Illustrated by Donna Diamond.
New York, NY: Dial Books for Young Readers (Distributed in Canada by McClelland & StewartInc.), 1999.
90 pp., cloth, $23.99.
ISBN 0-8307-2335-0.

Subject Headings:
Family-Juvenile fiction.
Fathers and sons-Juvenile fiction.
United States-History-Revolution, 1775-1783-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 3 - 5 / Ages 8 - 10.
Review by Harriet Zaidman.

*** /4


Women's work. Hannah looked down at the mitten she was knitting. Oh, dear. It was all lopsided. And she had hoped to finish it tonight. Then Ben would have a new pair when he went out to chop wood tomorrow.
The American War of Independence is the setting for this first book in a series of three trilogies (Pioneer Daughters) based on historical events. The protagonist is Hannah Perley, a nine-year-old whose life is turned upside down by the terrible events happening in the colonies. The family has contributed its work to support the American cause, but suddenly Hannah's brother, Ben, wants to go fight. Ben's father objects because he had experienced the loss of his own brother to war. The father-son tension within the close family disturbs Hannah greatly, but her attention is diverted by the birth of a lamb which is rejected by its mother. Hannah proves that, while she is not skilled at "women's work," such as sewing or baking, she is capable at other jobs. She painstakingly feeds the lamb by hand and saves its life, thereby developing confidence in herself at the same time. Father finally gives Ben his consent, and the family helps get Ben ready. The book ends as Ben marches off, with the rest of the story yet to be told. The book is printed in large type double spaced on the page. The short eight page chapters each end with the reader's wondering what will happen next. Soft black and white illustrations reflect the close farm family setting, and the coloured cover picture of a triumphant Hannah holding the little lamb is inviting. This book will appeal mostly to young girls who may then also want to find out about the historical period in which the book takes place. By elaborating on the role of girls and women in history, Hannah of Fairfield will make readers want to discover how Hannah makes her contribution to the war in the next book. A concluding "Author's Note," which explains the historical period and provides readers with information about daily life, complete with recipes, can be used by an adult as a starting point for discussion or activity.


Harriet Zaidman is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

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

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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364