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Lalor, George.

Illustrated by Réal Bérard, Manitoba, Pemmican Publications, 1986. 126pp, paper, $9.95, ISBN 0-919143-43-1. CIP

Grades 4 and up
Reviewed by Algis Tribinevicius

Volume 15 Number 4
1987 July

George Lalor grew up in Pine Falls, Manitoba. He has been a member of the Canadian Author's Association for twenty-five years and has written many short stories for a variety of markets. He began researching for The Foot of the River in 1967 and was awarded the Manitoba Historical Society Gold Medal in 1970. Real Bérard is an illustrator and artist from St. Boniface, Manitoba, Bérard was so impressed by Lalor's work that he donated his time and effort to add the illustrations to this book.

This volume contains the first two books of a series of five that tell the story of the region that surrounds the estuary of the Winnipeg River from the time of Lake Agassiz to the year 1921. It is the story of the birth and growth of three communities in Manitoba: Fort Alexander, Victoria Beach, and St. George. Although the work is well researched and carefully written within the realm of fact, it is not a history book. The author uses a series of vignettes or dramatic scenes. "Book One" tells the story of the People from the time of Lake Agassiz to the time when they first heard of a different people from a distant world. "Book Two" tells of the dramatic impact the first Europeans had on the people of the area, the beginnings of disruption of a way of life, the introduction of alcohol, and the immediate effects of another disease, smallpox. This began the loss of a natural balance for the aboriginal people in the area.

Lalor has written a scholarly work which is quite accessible to the layman. It is simply yet effectively illustrated, using a series of black line drawings. The type is easy to read and a table of contents permits easy access to the information. It is very useful for local history studies and gives a wider glimpse into the workings of a clash of cultures brought about through the fur trade. Upper elementary pupils could use it while high school students would find it a very valuable resource.

Algis Tribinevicius, Tehkummah, Manitoulin Island, Ont.
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