________________ CM . . . . Volume IX Number 5 . . . . November 1, 2002

cover

Irish Chain.

Barbara Haworth-Attard.
Toronto, ON: HarperCollins, 2002.
213 pp., pbk., $15.99.
ISBN 0-00-639215-6.

Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13.

Review by Betsy Fraser.

*** /4

excerpt:

"I can't be kept back again," I protested. "I'll be in my little sister's class if I'm held back."

"This type of thing won't do, Rose." She gestured toward my notebook. "You can't write or spell or do proper arithmetic. We can't possibly allow you to go on to the next grade when you're obviously not ready. You can step into the hall and think about that while I write this letter to your parents."

Thirteen-year-old Rose Dunlea is having a horrible time at a catholic girls school in Halifax. Although she can remember and tell the most wonderful stories about her family, most of them based on pieces of cloth found in the Irish Chain quilt that has been in her family for generations, whenever she tries to do her homework, the letters jump around on the page and she makes an awful mess. Her teacher calls her names and has held her back twice. Who could be worried about the war against Germany when there was such misery at home? Rose prays that she won't have to go to school anymore, but, when two ships explode in the Halifax harbour, nearly destroying the city, Rose worries that the explosion was her fault.

     This exciting story will pair nicely with a unit on World War I or Canadian history. Rose's story is involving and touching and will be meaningful to any student who has had to work hard to learn how to read. The characters are well-rounded, and Haworth-Attard is given ample opportunity to show what they are made of in their reactions to the tragedy. The novel gives a clear picture of class divisions in Halifax at the time and will offer something to any reader interested in history.

Recommended.

Betsy Fraser is a Youth Services Librarian with the Calgary Public Library in Calgary, AB.

 

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

Copyright 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

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