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Rejean Aucoin and Jean Claude Tremblay
Illustrated by Michele Hall; translated by Barbara LeBlanc and Sally Ross

Halifax, Nimbus, 1990. 51pp, paper, $4.95, ISBN 0-921054-50-9
Published in French as Tapis de Grand-Pre.

Grades 3 to 6/Ages 8 to 11
Reviewed by Janice Foster.

Volume 19 Number 5
1991 October

The translation of Tapis de Grand-Pre (Pointe-de-l'Eglise, N.S., Centre provinciale de resources pedagogiques, 1986) brings a delightful tale based on our Acadian ancestors to young English-speaking Canadian readers. Historical fiction is a popular genre and The Magic Rug of Grand-Pre offers the elementary-aged child a blend of Christmas magic and Canadian history.

Twins, Rose-Marie and Constant, are filled with anticipation as the festivities of Christmas Eve fill their home with excitement and activity. Grannie Henriette attempts to calm them down by telling them the story of the unfin­ished rug that hangs on the wall. It dates back to 1775 and is unfinished because of the hasty deportation of the Acadians by the British. Later that evening, Johnny a Minou, the magic mailman, arrives at the house and takes the children on a quest to find the twelve strands of wool needed to complete the rug. Their journey takes them to the four corners of Acadie (Nova Scotia), and during their adven­tures the twins become more familiar with their Acadian heritage. A magical ending concludes the story with a special Christmas present for Grannie Henriette.

The Magic Rug of Grand-Pre is an easy-to-read novel for elementary children. The French names may be unfamiliar, but the simple map of Nova Scotia near the front of the book allows the reader to follow the story route. The element of magic provided by Johnny a Minou adds a folk-tale flavour. The fanciful black-and-white illustrations enhance the story as well. This book could easily serve as an introduction to historical fiction and to Canadian folk­tales.

Janice Foster, Winnipeg, Man.
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