________________ CM . . . . Volume IX Number 7 . . . . November 29, 2002


Danger at the Landings. (An Orca Young Reader).

Becky Citra.
Victoria, BC: Orca Books, 2002.
92 pp., pbk., $6.95.
ISBN 1-55143-232-3.

Subject Heading:
Frontier and pioneer life-Canada-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-10.

Review by Gillian Noonan.

***½ /4


“How many times have I told you to stay off the waterwheel?” my uncle demanded.

Red jumped to the ground. He squinted at Uncle Stuart. “It ain’t that dangerous,” he said loudly.

“Not dangerous?” sputtered Uncle Stuart. “I know millers who have lost their legs working on waterwheels.”

For a second, Red seemed impressed. His bright blue eyes studied Uncle Stuart with interest. Then he sighed. “A guy can’t have any fun around here.”

“If you helped your ma and pa in the store more, you wouldn’t be out looking for fun all the time. You’re trouble, young Red. Now off you go! Get out of here!”

Before he ran down the road, Red gave me a quick wink. Red wasn’t afraid of my uncle. And I had a feeling he had all kinds of adventures. I felt a pang of envy.

Having adventures is the single most important thing in the life of eight-year-old Max, the hero in Becky Citra’s Danger at The Landings. Max lives with his father and his older sister, Ellie, on a farm carved out of the Ontario wilderness in the 1830s. His family has only been in Upper Canada for two years. In the opening chapter, we are introduced to Max and his beloved pet, Hambone the pig, as they encounter a dashing French lumberman, Pierre, who needs a light for his camp’s fire. Unfortunately for Max and Hambone, Max’s father has other plans for the pig, and he carries them out when Max travels to the small village, the Landings, with another farmer to deliver the family’s wheat to his uncle’s mill. On his return, Max decides to run away with the lumberjacks but instead gets sent back to his stern uncle when his father decides to go off to fight in the rebellion which is taking place. True adventure awaits Max at The Landings where he first needs rescuing from thin ice along with Red and then he becomes the hero as he saves the mill from fire.

     Citra’s characters are believable and likeable which makes for a pleasant read. Each chapter is well crafted to maintain the reader’s sense of wonder. As a piece of historical fiction, this is a welcome addition to any library because of its Canadian content which provides the story’s setting without being burdensome to the plot line. Danger at The Landings is the sequel to Ellie’s New Home and The Freezing Home, but the reader does not need to read the previous two to understand and enjoy this one. The only question which may remain in the reader’s mind after finishing this title is, “What happened to Max’s mother?” But that question, along with the spirited life of Max, may prove to be enough to lead readers to read the other two works.

Highly Recommended.

Gillian Martin Noonan is a teacher living in Old Perlican, Newfoundland.

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

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ISSN 1201-9364
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