________________ CM . . . . Volume IX Number 11 . . . . January 31, 2003


Lisa: Overland to Cariboo. (Our Canadian Girl).

Priscilla Galloway.
Toronto, ON: Penguin Canada, 2003.
90 pp., pbk., $7.99.
ISBN 0-14-100327-8.

Subject Heading:
Cariboo Region (B.C.)-Gold discoveries-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Christina Neigel.

*** /4

Reviewed from prepublication copy.


Ma suggested that I should keep a kind of diary in my head, telling myself the story of each day before I fell asleep. “Make a tale for your children,” she said, “That's what I did when I left home.”

Ma could tell a fine tale, but she was seventeen when she left Ireland. I was only ten. Besides, I didn't expect to have children. Babies meant husbands, and who would want to marry a plum pudding like me- Even if I wanted to, which I did not.

I wanted to be a miner, shaking my pan and finding pieces of gold in the bottom, or breaking up rocks with my pickaxe and finding gold there.

In an effort to cast off past hardships and seek a prosperous life, the Schubert family set out from Fort Garry, Manitoba, to the goldfields of British Columbia in 1861. A succession of unfortunate events, including physical threats from the local Sioux population, encouraged the family to depart. The family's adventures are relayed to the reader through the eyes of the Schubert's 10-year-old niece, Lisa. Having lost both parents to illness, Lisa was taken in by her aunt and uncle and treated as one of their own children. Although Lisa has endured tragedy in her life, she gains protection through the love and support of the Schuberts, enabling her to emerge as a strong and courageous character. Committed to the dream of becoming a miner, Lisa is undaunted by the hardships facing her and her family.

     Priscilla Galloway has successfully created a tale that is both historically accurate and gripping to read. Taking into consideration the intended audience and aims of the series, the plot, setting, and characters are appropriately and effectively cast. The book is fashioned somewhat like a journal as each chapter documents a new turn of events during the family's journey. The pace is swift, and the story is fairly short. As a work independent of a series, Galloway might have been able to flex her storytelling skills and deepened the content and the character development. Although a book with a planned sequel should leave the reader wanting more, this story ends rather artificially and abruptly. Nevertheless, it is a worthwhile read.

     “Our Canadian Girl” is a series of books (written by different authors) that characterizes aspects of Canadian history through the experiences of young, intelligent, and brave girls who must overcome specific challenges. The series creator and editor, Barbara Berson, set out to create a set of historical novels that would inspire young readers to develop an interest in Canadian history.


Christina Neigel is the Instruction Librarian at the University College of the Cariboo in Kamloops, BC.

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

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